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Treyarch says new engine for Black Ops 2 is not necessary

by Bill Hess on May 14, 2012

Ask most Call of Duty critics what the franchise needs the most, and its an improvement to the game engine. It’s one that has been used in every Call of Duty game since 2005’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but Treyarch’s studio lead disagrees. Mark Lamia believes that the development teams at Infinity Ward and Treyarch have been able to improve upon the engine over the years, making significant enhancements to their games along the way.

Lamia recently sat down with Dam Amrich to talk about the engine pushing Call of Duty: Black Ops II over at One of Swords. “People always ask me, “Is this a new engine?” I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodeled. Just because you’re remodeling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don’t tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing. You might even go as hardcore as replacing the plumbing, and we will do that sort of thing, as an analogy. It’s a gross simplification, but it’s one way to say that. There’s a lot of good still in that foundation that you wouldn’t get rid of, and we don’t. We look to advance in the areas that support our game design.

Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don’t modify what they don’t need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can’t make a competitive product if you’re not upgrading that engine along the way.

I think the whole thing about a new engine…sometimes that’s a great buzzword. Well, I have a new graphics engine — is that a new engine? Where does it start and stop? Elements of the code, you can trace back for a very very long time…but whole parts of the code are entirely new. Two areas we did focus on for this game were the graphics and the lighting — a pretty significant amount of work is going into that.

I think what people are asking for is for us to push. They want us to make a better-looking game; they want things. I don’t think those are things people can’t ask for. We asked ourselves that very same question — we wanted to advance the graphics. I think the questions are valid. The answer may not need to be an entirely new engine, but you might need to do an entire overhaul of your entire lighting system. The trick is, we’re not willing to do that if we can’t keep it running at 60 frames per second — but we did that this time. So this is the Black Ops II engine.”

If you’re wondering what engine will be powering this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the answer is simple according to Lamia. “It’s The Black Ops II engine”, and upgrade engine from the original Black Ops upgraded for the new game.

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  • Brevs

    And they are 100% correct. Some people think it is completely necessary to have a new engine if you want it to be innovating.

  • barnhawk

    “It’s one that has been used in every Call of Duty game since 2005’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare”

    The engine is now 7 years old. You can keep improving a mediocre engine and think ur doing something good, but everyone knows its still just a mediocre engine. They have made tens of millions of dollars from the COD series but they dont even think about making a new engine because it will fuck up their 1 year development cycle…. Pathetic.

    • Brevs

      It is 5 years old now. CoD 4 was released in 2007. They are not going to make a new engine until the next gen cod is made. Why would they make a brand new engine now when next gen consoles are right around the corner?

  • blazeup

    rofl…of course u don’t need a new engine *derp*

  • Cool dude

    Lets just see till the release

  • Paul

    As a die hard Call Of Duty fan I have to say that these games don’t excite me anymore. It went from COD4 where you at least had to try and get behind the enemy, now you die and instantly spawn 10 feet away from the enemy. The games are broken, there is no strategy, it’s just run, shoot, die, spawn behind enemy, run, shoot, die. I stopped playing MW3 a month ago because it was so repetitive every game. I can’t believe I even played it this long. Treyarch does a good job at listening to the community but there is not much they can do when they use the same “remodeled” engine. I actually wish this COD would bomb at sale time, just so Activision would invest money in making the games better. I know it won’t bomb though because everyone always says the next game will be better and then it sucks more than the last one.


    No engines dont make games, but cod needs a new engine. Cods graphics are a joke.

    • Brevs

      They are the best graphics out there that can keep a steady 60 fps. That is their goal and most of their reason why for not drastically improving the graphics. They improve every year.

  • Heavenswarrior121

    Basically there saying” F*uck yall,we dont need a brand new engine now its to late,why would we spend all that money creating a brand new engine for this generation consoles if IW is already in the process in doing that for the next generation consoles ps4 and 720??”

    Stop being raging beast boys and think before you speak so called ” smart ones”

    Just because ea created a brand new engine for this generation consoles last year doesnt mean cid should if the next generation could be here next year?? Do yall think ea is creating a brand new engine again for battlefield 4 for the next generation? No they will simply update it to frostbite engine 2.5 to adjust to the new consoles

  • Allen

    When you have a huge loyal fan base of 16 Million that will buy anything COD you never have to update the graphics, even if every other FPS that released in the last 3 years has been far superior in terms of graphics and fun playability.

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