Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be banking on a lot of open-ended mission designs to revitalize the franchise which has usually always steered towards linear-focused action narratives.
Speaking with the Official PlayStation Magazine for the latest issue, senior creative director Dan Vondrak stated that Raven Software took great influence from the ’80s to not only create the settings of the single-player campaign but also change how players approach interactive sequences.
Instead of simply gathering evidence through missions for clues to unravel the plot, players will have to solve puzzles in Black Ops Cold War to unlock intel and in turn gain access to different parts of their side missions.
“I was like, dude, if this was an ’80s game, you would have to solve some kind of puzzle,” said Vondrak. “People thought I was crazy. [Now] you have to use the evidence to solve these puzzles and that’ll unlock a different part of the side mission, so even here we wanted to make a call back to the ’80s.”
Building even more on open-ended mission designs, Black Ops Cold War will have two optional side missions. Whether players choose to do them or not will impact the storyline and the ending either way. While Vondrak did not confirm, these two optional side missions may possibly be the ones that players have to unlock through the aforementioned puzzle-solving interactions.
Black Ops Cold War is “breaking out of the normal traditional Call of Duty structure,” exclaimed Vondrak. From dialogue options to decision-making to entire missions designed with multiple endings, choices have been placed at almost every crucial junction in the single-player narrative, growing in number and importance as players progress towards the end.
Raven Software has already revealed the Hitman-like mission as an example where players infiltrate the KGB in disguise. Tasked to assassinate a target without firing a bullet, players can poison him, blackmail him, or bribe a prisoner to kill him during interrogation. Vondrak teased that some of these missions will leave it to the players to find new ways to complete the objective.
“This culmination of ideas and experiences are crystallised and harnessed into Black Ops Cold War,” said creative specialist Miles Leslie, “so you’ve got some RPG and some action. […] We’re throwing in all the experience-ingredients into the pie and what comes out of the oven is Black Ops – Cold War, which hopefully is gonna be super-tasty.”
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will release for both current-generation and next-generation consoles alongside PC on November 13, 2020.