After months of silence, Activision has finally blown the lid off Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, revealing that - surprise, surprise - yet another developer has been called up to work on the world's biggest franchise.
But the pressure is on: With Vita struggling, Black Ops Declassified is arguably the console's most important game yet, and responsibility has fallen to Resistance: Burning Skies developer Nihilistic Software to deliver a game that not only performs well but, crucially, gets players rushing out to buy the handheld later this year. But how does the intense online action of Call of Duty's home console counterparts fare when scaled down to the small screen? Here's everything we know about Black Ops Declassified so far...
- Black Ops Declassified is being developed by Nihilistic Software, the team behind this year's disappointing Resistance: Burning Skies.
- The single-player campaign follows Hudson and Woods between the events of Call of Duty: Black Ops 1 and the upcoming sequel.
- The campaign has been designed for 'On The Go' play, with Nihilistic creating a set of shorter objective-based missions for bite-sized play sessions.
- Single-player levels include Time Trial and Survival missions.
- Multiplayer appears to have been the focus, however, and the game includes support for 4 vs 4 online multiplayer.
- A range of classic Call of Duty multiplayer modes are featured, including Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed. Activision says that more modes are still to be revealed.
- If you're expecting a wide variety of maps, prepare to be disappointed. There are only six multiplayer maps in total, and we've been shown one of them: Shattered, a daytime map set in a destroyed Chinese village filled with abandoned cars and rubble. Picture a generic grey/brown war-torn city and you've got Shattered in a nutshell. The post-match menu also teased us with a map called Rocket, while the trailer appears to show a scaled down Vita version of Nuketown.
- The multiplayer HUD is slightly different to that found in previous versions of Call of Duty. The map now sits in the top-left of the screen, with each team's score central left.
- As per usual, XP prompts appear whenever you kill another player.
- You'll earn bonus XP for getting revenge or fulfilling certain requirements.
- 'Virtual buttons' on the right hand side of the Vita's touchscreen are used to quickly throw grenades and flashbangs, use your knife and hold your breath while sniping.
- You can control the direction of your grenade by tapping your finger on the screen in the direction of where you want the grenade to go.
- Near functionality lets players 'Share A Class'. Activision hopes players will use this to discover new equipment load-outs from any nearby players.
- Killcam appears to have gone AWOL.
- Rather than switch to a third-person view when players are killed, the screen turns grey as the player falls to his knees, all while still in first-person. It reminded us a lot of GoldenEye 64's death sequences.
- When you die you have the option to respawn immediately or change class.
- Killstreaks are back, replacing MW3's Pointstreaks. Players can activate killstreaks buy pushing a virtual button on the touchscreen. UAV has been promised, but we've yet to see which other killstreaks have made the jump.
- Players can vote for which map and game match they want to play next.
- The Barracks return. We don't yet know how they'll differ to the core series, if at all.
- From what we can tell, the frame rate seems to flutter between 25-30fps - far from the smooth 60fps standard of console Call of Duty. This is still to be optimised, of course, but we can't see Nihilistic doubling the frame rate within the few months left in development.
- Due for release in November 2012.