Though it wasn't supposed to be officially revealed until later tonight, the next Call of Duty game has been unmasked early. The official Web site of the game, subtitled Black Ops, went live this morning, revealing its launch date of November 9, 2010. The bare-bones site revealed no other details about the game, which is in development at internal studio Treyarch, developer of the 11-million-unit best-seller Call of Duty: World at War.
[UPDATE] Activision has now officially announced Call of Duty: Black Ops, which it says will "take players behind enemy lines in an entirely new chapter" of the first-person shooter series. The publisher confirmed that the game will have a single-player campaign, competitive multiplayer, and a co-op mode. It is unclear if the co-op mode will be for the entire campaign or will have a more limited scope as in Modern Warfare 2's Special Ops mode.
Today's revelation follows rumors that the next Call of Duty game would focus on either the Vietnam War or, as now appears more likely, various regional and guerrilla conflicts that broke out during the Cold War. Silicon Valley blog VentureBeat went so far in an article yesterday as to say that the game would be titled Call of Duty: Vietnam, which is now obviously not the case.
[UPDATE 2] UK retailer GAME has apparently confirmed the multinational Cold War setting in its product description for the game, which reads: "Call of Duty Black Ops is the next installment in the thrilling Call of Duty franchise. Packing an amazing single-player story that will see you fight across the globe in locations such as Cuba, Vietnam and the Arctic." Since Vince Zampella and Jason Ward's lawsuit against Activision said Infinity Ward had control of all Call of Duty games set after the Vietnam War, a Cold War setting is almost assured.
The Black Ops announcement is a positive piece of news for Activision's Call of Duty series, following weeks of negative press surrounding the franchise. Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward has been at the center of Activision's problems, with more than 26 key staff members resigning and many joining the studio's fired cofounders Jason West and Vince Zampella at their new startup, Respawn Entertainment. On Tuesday, 38 former and current Infinity Ward employees sued Activision for $150 million to $625 million, claiming nonpayment of Modern Warfare 2 bonuses and royalties.
For a closer look at Treyarch's last game, Call of Duty: World at War, watch the video review below.