Calling traditional campaign progression “an archaic mentality,” Blundell notes that Black Ops III‘s overhauled approach “gives [players] the flexibility to consume the content how they want.”
“Consumers and game players in general are far more mature these days,” Blundell explains. “There are so many things vying for our interests today. It’s about, how do they want to consume it? Maybe they put it down on level two, and then they’re in work the next day, and some guy says, ‘dude, you’ve got to check out level four!’ And he’s like, ‘okay, I’ll have a quick look.’ That’s totally fine. I think it’s their choice.”
Call of Duty: Black Ops III gives players the option of starting at the game’s finale, if they wish, bypassing hours of story development and combat encounters. Blundell likens Black Ops III‘s relaxed progression requirements to Netflix’s full-season releases of its original series House of Cards, and assures that players will want to return to previous levels after skipping ahead to the endgame.
“If you see the end you’ll say, I need to understand this more,” Blundell stated. “When Netflix release House of Cards and do all the episodes, does everyone just jump to the end and go and play the last episode? Sure you can. But it’s about the journey, though, right? Sure, people will jump on and play the last level. Okay. Cool. That’s up to them.”
While many past games have adopted episodic structures, few allow players the option of skipping major portions of gameplay during a first-time playthrough. Games like Alan Wake and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain go so far as to display credits after each in-game episode, but gameplay still progresses along a linear path.
Developer Telltale Games has also tackled episodic content with games like The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands, allowing players to start at any point but rewarding those who play from start to finish with choice-driven narratives.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III launches for consoles and PCs on November 6th.