Treyarch is often hailed as the best studio to make Call of Duty games. People love the Black Ops approach to the franchise and the way Treyarch revolutionized eSports. We spoke to David Vonderhaar, studio design director at Treyarch, and he explained elements about eSports and the black market. But it’s the way they changed escort missions into something rather cool that intrigued me the most.
Escort missions are notorious among gamers as an excuse for irritating gameplay, so much so that it’s often made fun of in game design, trophies and spoofs. However, Treyarch is seeking to change that, and hearing Vonderhaar explain it (at 1:49) makes it actually sound like fun.
So what you’re referring to when you talk about the escort game mode is the game mode that we call Safe Guard. And in this game mode there’s a robot and you have to escort this robot across the map. And the robot can actually take damage and will shut down for a brief period of time. We were nervous about Safe Guard, we actually put it in the Beta and the players reacted to it really strongly. So we have a lot of faith that this game mode is going to resonate with people who like this kind of chaotic, longer, bigger games because if you’re playing really strong Safe Guard can take a while to play out, especially on the larger maps.
So this is a game that requires team coordination and it’s a game mode for people who love that kind of concentrated chaos. We call it pushing action. And the robot that you’re escorting through the map does just that. It forces all the battle into a single place so it’s going to be really great for guys who are going for high kill count games because everyone’s concentrated together. It’s going to go really great for teams who really enjoy the team work and coordination required to make something happen and have a victory happen.
The mode is fair and balanced because you actually flip sides and then you actually have overtime if people score with the robot. Overtime is then a time race, called time to beat, works similar to the way Uplink or CTF overtime mostly works. So it’s quite accessible, meaning people who’ve never played Safe Guard are going to instantly sort of understand the rules of Safe Guard and how to be successful escorting that robot across the map.
I’m always intrigued when studios can take such an established kind of gameplay and make it something new. I’m sure multiplayer fans will go for a range of game modes, but at least no one should be avoiding escort missions like the plague – at least not as much as usual.
It’s interesting to hear him talk about the black market as well. I’m glad it won’t be a pay-to-win set up, although that’s pretty much to be expected at this point from the studio. They know what they’re doing with these games and how much players will rage if it feels unbalanced.
Last Updated: November 13, 2015