Call of Duty: Black Ops will include split-screen options for online multiplayer, a custom game mode editor and sharing facility, and a range of other interface tweaks to make your time being shot in the face by teenagers in Utah more agreeable, Treyarch has revealed.
Writing on the official US PlayStation Blog, Treyarch's Josh Olin explained that a second player can plug in another controller to join your online battle and that guests can even rank up and earn unlocks, although guest progress is forgotten when they sign out again.
The Custom Games Editor, meanwhile, will allow players to "structure their games at all new levels of granularity". You can set variables like time limit and score limit, but also specify which weapons, perks and gear can be used, among other things, so in theory you can do whatever you want. "You want a Pistols Only match? Make one!" wrote Olin. "No longer do custom game modes rely on the honour system."
Black Ops will also feature an in-game friends list (recent players, friends, friends' File Shares, recent games, combat records), while joining games in progress should be simpler, and Party leaders can choose to make lobbies Invite Only, Friends Only, or even close them off completely to the outside world.
Treyarch has also sought to reduce lag and communication issues by allowing for "regional matchmaking filters on a global scale". In other words, you can specify whether you want to play with people from other regions or only those close to you, wherever you happen to be.
Finally, long-term players of COD games may be pleased to learn that emblems will no longer be reset once players enter Prestige, although XP, COD Points, Challenge progressions, Loadouts "and so forth" still will.
Black Ops multiplayer aims to pick up where last year's Modern Warfare 2 left off, although it also introduces a raft of new ideas including a Combat Training mode where players can hone their skills against bots, and a COD Points currency for buying upgrades, which can also be gambled away in Wager Matches - specific free-for-all game types where the winner hoovers up the losers' CP.
Check out our in-depth Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer hands-on preview for more details on how all that works. Not long to go now...