Call Of Duty Ditches ‘Archaic’ Campaign Unlock System

Call Of Duty Ditches ‘Archaic’ Campaign Unlock System

Most games force you to play things in a certain order — and that gating can be a drag. Black Ops 3, however, is trying something very different.

As Eurogamer reports, Black Ops 3 will let players go through the campaign in whatever order they’d like. Wanna start the game right at the end? You can do that. Just pick the last level (and prepare yourself for a whole lotta spoilers, I guess.) Kind of wild, no?

“The unlocking level system is an archaic mentality we’ve had since we did bedroom development back in the day — you do this, then go on to the next one,” Jason Blundell, the director of Black Ops 3’s campaign, told Eurogamer.

“Consumers and game players in general are far more mature these days. 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, ‘ok, I’ll have a quick look.’ That’s totally fine. I think it’s their choice.”

The obvious benefit is that this sort of loose structure lets the player experience a game on their own terms — something which suits the medium perfectly. But more overtly, a structure like this would force games to stop relying so much on twists and spoilers. If players can just jump straight to the end of the game, then the rest of the game has to be enticing enough to convince people to experience it in its totality. As Blundell says to Eurogamer, “it’s about the journey.”

The funny thing is, most media works like this. You can skip ahead in a movie. You can open up a book to whatever page you’d like. You can select whatever Netflix episode of a show you’d like to see, regardless of what you have watched before. Games are one of the few things that don’t give you this sort of freedom, so it’s really cool to see a big-name game test the waters here. I hope this idea spreads — I’d love to see more games try it. Blundell is right; gating is outdated idea that some games don’t need.

You can read more of Blundell’s thoughts on Black Ops 3 here.


  • I do recall in BF4 wanting the guns you get at the end of the story and being quite annoyed that I had to suffer through the whole thing for a mp gun.
    So I heartily approve for this kinda game.

  • Interesting, but I’d like to see some sort of reward for progressing through it logically too, instead of merely skipping to the end.

    • I imagine they will still have the achievements for finishing the individual sections like previous COD games, so there’s that.

      • Nah I don’t mean meaningless things like achievements, I mean actual ingame things, like say, not being able to access weaponry unless things are done in a particular order “You cant use this weapon unless you get it off this guy first…” for instance.

        • Wouldn’t that make jumping straight into the endgame nigh-on-impossible?

          It’s like ‘sure, you can take this bossfight… with your level 1 gear. Have fun with that!’

          • It would make it more challenging, not necessarily impossible. Still make it possible to beat any bosses, but make it somewhat easier if you progress in a linear fashion etc.

          • Yeah I suppose I’m being a bit obtuse. It wouldn’t be the same as an RPG-style shooter, where your lack of stats/gear would make it undoable…

            I wonder if they could make the gameplay more nonlinear. Maybe the ‘setup’ missions have you acquiring better gear, intel on a bosses weaknesses, allow you to start the level from a more advantageous position, something like that?

            I don’t know if it’s possible for me to spoil the story for HL2 for anyone at this point, but just in case…

            It just seems freaking weird to me… imagine playing HL2 and just skipping straight to the fight at the Citadel. None of the relationship buildup, no idea who the hell Alyx Vance is, none of the emotional connection to Eli or Alyx or any idea why you are hunting Dr. Breen.

            Heck, even just jumping into HL2: Episode 1 without having played through the HL2 storyline seems like heresy. There’s a reason that you play through the story in a particular order, and going outside that just seems silly.

  • fair enough, you’re trying something different.. that’s cool.

    Doesn’t mean it’s archaic though.

    • Yeah following a story in its chronological order can hardly be called archaic now can it?!

      Far out… it is only logical to follow the storyline and progress along with it! I have no idea what they are suggesting but I like having to unlock the levels and then if you want certain acheivements you can go back to specific levels etc but shouldnt be able to do that without knowing the storyline… Mate at work says “check out level 4” then you should spend an extra hour on there and get to level 4! That’s part of the appeal!!!

  • Read this as: “Our story is Shite and we know that people that play our game only care about EXPLOSIONS… so yeah, we don’t care about the campaign.

  • I’d like to see this multiplayer shooters ditch the “archaic” system of having to unlock stuff in multiplayer. It was a nice idea back in the COD4 days, but I think it has run its course now. Just give players access to all the stuff at the beginning and let them pick and choose what they want to use – get rid of the grind and go straight to the fun. Not to mention it would make a more even playing field for people who come along a few months / weeks / days after launch and no longer find themselves up against guys armed to the teeth with stuff that they don’t yet have access to.

    • This. Bring back Doom, where all you needed was skill and not 100 hours of grinding for upgrades (or buying shortcuts).

  • There’s a reason games rarely do this. Firstly, you miss out on major story and world building. Secondly, and more importantly, you miss out on core skill building and learning the “language” of the game. Sure, movies and books allow you to skip ahead but then all you get are a bunch of meaningless events and characters that you have no vested interest in then when you go back to the beginning you know how things are going to pan out so the story becomes less interesting.

    It will come down to whether they can effectively design an experience that can be picked up at any point, otherwise the game has the potential to end up being a series of mediocre and ultimately meaningless scenarios.

  • Roflmao. Great means they will put less effort into the SP since they can justify it by saying everyone just plays the final few chapters anyway.

    Might as well just be an online only game.

  • I wouldn’t really call it archaic… i’d call it logical. The story needs to progress in a certain order, it’d be like reading a book and starting at the last chapter, then going back to the first. Nice to see them trying something different, but it kinds of makes me think that the story is going to be weak

  • “Gating is outdated idea that some games don’t need.”

    Such, ditch a beginning, middle and end, Treyarch. What’s the worst that could happen?

    Oh right, your story could end up looking like a dog’s breakfast. CHOICE is what’s important in video game story-telling, not non-linearity.

    • I agree – throw in one or two decisions that create a different story arc if you want players to consumer “how they want to”… I dont know anyone who has watched the last few scenes of a movie and then gone back to the start…

  • Why do we have to compare the two? Linear storytelling as it is (and has been for all time) is now archaic? (might not be what you meant but seriously, tone down the drama, gating is inherently linked with narrative) Can’t someone at least be secure enough to acknowledge a new endeavour/idea without it being at the cost of all others? Something weird lately with people treating collective ideas almost as “teams” that cannot under any circumstances co exist with other legitimate ideas… sorry, teams. Isn’t this the opposite of what we consider rationality?

  • Even more “archaic” remember when games had cheat codes, so if you wanted to jump forward, or have God mode, you could.

  • LOL

    You don’t fucking read the 3rd chapter of a book, then the 20th, then the first, then the last because “FREEDOM OF CHOICE!!!!”.

    What a joke.

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