Making the next Call of Duty is either the most enviable position in game development, or the least depending on who you ask. Each year you’re expected to blow expectations out of the water in the biggest ways. Jason Blundell, Director of Campaign & Zombies on Call of Duty Black Ops III spoke exclusively about what makes this entry so special, and what small things to keep your eyes out for in the campaign and the more robust zombies, now called Shadows of Evil.
“They’ll miss the way we changed our renderer, the lighting improvements we’ve made,” Blundell said of the small things players might gloss over, “Especially for a horror experience, lighting is a lot of your work.”
Speaking of the revamped zombie mode, Blundell gushed about how lighting changes the core experience,
[Shadows of Evil] allowed us to play with light and dark, and mix light in different ways that we couldn’t before. I would recommend not playing with curtains closed, it might be a bit too scary.
Blundell was also keen on the art style playing right into the lighting and vice-versa, opting for a more classic and genre-type experience, while defining their own unique look that can be picked out from a simple screen shot.
“In true Noire style, it’s a little bit rainy, there’s a little bit of water in the environment,” said Blundell.
Blundell also revealed that this zombie experience is the most robust in terms of a “hours worked” perspective the team has ever put forth,
The average zombie DLC map is made in four or five months’ worth of work, [Shadows of Evil] is two and a half years of work. In terms of detail and complexity, it’s really on a different level.
Shadows of Evil isn’t going to be a copy paste job from the campaign Blundell assures, it’ll have its own style, its own inspirations, and its own tension.
“Shadows of Evil is based on part gecko with part Noveau architectural styles. I did that because I put males and females in the campaign for the first time,” said Blundell, “Then when you combine that with the afterlife experience of Zombies, and it allows you to traverse the world when you’re in a certain mode. This city has real verticality and meaningful verticality as well.”
Blundell described the scenes and settings of Shadows of Evil as though they’re an independent game, and while the design philosophy of a Call of Duty game will likely still shine through, the team looks to create a wholly unique experience for players.
“Building a complex environment that felt like a city, that felt like an urban jungle, one of the things we want to do in Zombies is make people feel claustrophobic,” Blundell explained, “One of the biggest challenges you have with a city is that it’s big, and so we had to make the city feel like it was choking you a bit, while also feeling spacious. That’s quite a challenge.
Shadows of Evil comes as part of the total Call of Duty Black Ops III experience on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on November 6, 2015.