I'd finished my interview with Tom Cassell, and it had gone fairly well. Although, something did feel like it was missing. "Would you mind if I walked with you for a bit?" I asked. "So I can see it happen?" Tom was enthusiastic - he is about most things. So we took to the floor of the Eurogamer Expo.
Every Sunday we dig an interesting article out of our massive archive for you to enjoy again or perhaps read for the first time. With a new Call of Duty out on Tuesday, this week we thought we'd take you back to Call of Duty XP, the 2011 event Activision put on in Los Angeles to celebrate the series. This article was originally published on 14th September 2011.
Do you need a new social network in your life? Activision thinks you do. It's betting so hard on it, in fact, that it's set up an entire developer, Beachhead Studios, just to create and maintain one – or something that certainly looks like one, anyway. It's aimed at the millions of people out there who play Call of Duty multiplayer.
Like many people, I've been been playing a lot of Black Ops lately. A little too much, perhaps. When you smear yourself in camo paint and start looking for decent camping spots on your way to the bus stop, you know you're overdoing it.
Call of Duty: Black Ops on console is a great game and in many ways the PC release is significantly better. Having played through both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, we approached our third playthrough somewhat wearily, a touch burned out after all the effort put into last week's PS3 vs. 360 Face-Off. Happily, this third playthrough was in no way a chore. Indeed it's safe to say that we'd managed to save the best until last. Assuming you have a suitably meaty machine, Black Ops PC delivers an unbeatable experience.
Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz's widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial, is a weekly dissection of an issue weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GI.biz newsletter subscribers.
So, boom! Activision opens its secret payload to deliver a special Christmas tech megaton - Call Of Duty: Black Ops will hit in proper, stereoscopic 3D. That was the news being blasted out as I sat in a swish New York hotel last week, expensive electrical glasses perched on nose. Expectations were high and for the most part, Activision didn't disappoint.
The headline, I'm told, became an all-too-regular mantra for Activision's beleaguered communications team long ago.
The developers at Treyarch must be feeling immense pressure right now. They have to be, when one considers the environment Call of Duty: Black Ops is about to land in. To start with it's the latest instalment in what has now become a world-conquering franchise. Its predecessor broke international sales records and also placed itself firmly on the mainstream's radar with the "No Russian" level. Talk to 10 people who have no interest in videogames and it's likely that, along with GTA, Pac-Man, Mario and Sonic, they'll have heard of Call of Duty.
"So," says the silver-haired man with the steely blue eyes, "What's your favourite videogame?"
First come the historians and then, increasingly, come the game designers: the second waves to break on the shorelines of our recent history. Just so long as that history's violent, obviously. Just so long as it has options for cover systems and alternate fire modes.