Treyarch hopes the changes it's made for the multiplayer portion of Black Ops 2 will make Call of Duty a team game again.
The developer has replaced Kill Streaks with Score Streaks, and to unlock them you need to gain score, granted for kills and team-benefiting actions.
It's also implemented a new skill-based matchmaking system called League Play that will see players promoted and relegated into divisions for competitive play.
"When we play you really start caring again," game design director David Vonderhaar told Eurogamer. "We're back at the studio and we're forming up teams, and you start to take on a role. It's no joke. I was the goal tender. I stayed back and protected our C Domination flag. That was the entirety of my job. I focused on doing that job and doing it well. And even though I wasn't in every single fight all the time and running out to my death, I was setting up strategic defensive positions and thinking about it a lot. It was just an incredibly fun way to play.
"I think players are going to start caring about winning and losing again, and are going to go out of their way to work together. That to me is what I found now we're coming into the home stretch. All these places in the game where we subconsciously did that: the League Play feature does it. Multi-team does the same thing. I just think this can be a team game again."
We asked Vonderhaar if Call of Duty had lost the feeling of team play - perhaps rival Battlefield's greatest attraction - following its incredible growth in popularity since the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
"There's a lot of people, right?" he said. "There are a lot of people who like to play. Now you can spread this out. You can get players trained up in combat training. You can get guys who just want to go out and wreck in the public matchmaking. You can get guys who want to try hard and work as a team over in League Play. I think that's a great thing."
Score Streaks were highlighted by Treyarch during a Gamescom press conference as one of the chief changes made to multiplayer. But some have said they are nothing more than Kill Streaks with a different name.
Vonderhaar said the new system has a meaningful impact on Call of Duty multiplayer and changes the dynamic of the experience - if players want it to.
"It's pretty easy to take something for granted just in life, right? You have a car, you take it for granted. You take Kill Streaks for granted too as a designer. That's really the ultimate way to reward players. But in fact, there are probably a lot of different ways to reward players.
"So for us it was just really interesting when we started having some granularity. I'm a systems designer. I like to have room to move. I like to be able to go up and go down. When something is a kill and only a kill, that's a pretty specific thing. When something has numbers, like score, then it can be more or less. That gives us a lot of flexibility to reward the appropriate gameplay behaviour for winning the game mode.
"Grabbing flags and capping them can give you score. And then you can get a guy who maybe can't necessarily go on a big kill streak invested in the system and give him some rewards. Why doesn't he deserve rewards? He probably deserves them more than some guy just standing off somewhere just generating kills, and that's all he's doing."
He added: "People are people and they enjoy the game the way they enjoy it. But if you like to participate in the reward system then you probably will participate because you're going to get more score. Even if you're a big KD guy, even if you can go on a big kill streak or get lots of kills without dying, even you are going to get lots more score when you're putting targets down because you're protecting the flag carrier or you are the flag carrier.
"So just using something other than a one or a zero gives us some room to move here. It's a lot of fun that way for everybody."
Meanwhile, Vonderhaar confirmed that Score Streaks reset upon death, and revealed that Treyarch dabbled with different approaches before settling on that system.
"We were't just tempted [to have Score Streaks not reset on death], we actually tried it that way,2 he said.
"We tried it all sorts of ways. When they didn't reset on death there was some inevitability in the system, and that didn't exactly feel right either. You wouldn't want someone just hanging around until they earn those rewards. We definitely played with that. We had that in. We had it only take away half. We tried all of those things."
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