Call of Duty players will enjoy a "visual overhaul" for Black Ops 2, Activision has claimed.
Graphical upgrades are a mix of "tech and technique", according to Treyarch's director of online Dan Bunting.
In a demo to press (via One of Swords) played on an Xbox 360 build of the game, an unpopulated level set on Socotra Island in Yemen showed HDR lighting, bounce lighting, self-shadowing, and a new texture technique called reveal mapping.
In a future LA level called Aftermath the visual improvements are more practical, Bunting said. Here unique environments such as a coffee shop and a hotel lobby have been included so players can easily call out their locations to teammates.
Black Ops 2, as with previous games in the gargantuan first-person shooter series, runs at a cool 60 frames per second. According to Bunting, Treyarch is not willing to sacrifice frame rate for visual detail. Still, the PC version of the game will "take advantage" of DirectX 11 cards, although how it will do so remains unknown. Treyarch even mocapped a horse for use in the game.
Black Ops 2 was unveiled last night with a trailer, below. It's set in the Cold War of the 1980s and a fictional second Cold War in 2025. As such, expect plenty of future tech, including walking tanks and quadrotors.
The villain this time is Raul Menendez, who features in both time periods. David Mason, whose father starred in the first game, is the soldier in the 2025 segments.
New for the series are branching storylines and player choice. One level, which sees you escort the president through a destroyed downtown Los Angeles in 2025, begins by asking the player to decide whether to snipe or rappel, a choice that determines your path through the chaos. Director Dave Anthony likened the system to Choose Your Own Adventure books. Also, you can fail missions, which affects the story. Characters live or die based on your decisions.
There are light RTS elements, too, via the new Strike Force Operations mechanic. In these missions you choose who to play within them. You can swap between people within your squad or control drones or use Overwatch mode to direct the action from a top-down perspective. At any point you can assume direct control on the battlefield and zoom in to start firing from the ground.
Elsewhere, zombies, a Treyarch trademark, are confirmed. Multiplayer is "no longer a one-size-fits-all solution", game design director David Vonderhaar said. Here the team hopes to support the broadest range of players.