Some may turn and groan at the sight of another Call of Duty, and although I’m not a die-hard fan of the series, the recent trailer for Black Ops III has really caught my eye. The teaser features a somewhat familiar theme of human augmentation, in other words; physically altered humans, such as robotic limbs and enhancements. However, instead of just hitting you with the new tech, it shows you a timeline from 1998 to 2065. In this world, man has gone through steroids, wearable technology, prosthetic limbs, brain to brain connections and retinal implants; but these have consequences, most noticeably a divide between augmented and unaltered humans.
There were a few things which stuck out to me in the three minute teaser. The first was in regards to religion, at the 2015 mark, there was a short segment of a priest preaching within a church. “If we undermine the morals that define us, what good is our beloved progress then?” is the part of his dialogue which resonated with me, as it makes sense. He’s speaking about advancing evolution with the use of technology as opposed to natural progression. However, where does natural progression begin and end? If we’re capable of making such superior technologies, why wouldn’t we use it? All we’d be doing then would be ignoring the power we have in light of a more natural cause. When ultimately, if this technology is man-made, who is there to say that this isn’t another type of natural progression?
“You think the retinal chips that you buy at the mall are high-tech? Our military is light years ahead of that. The things that we use to heal ourselves, they’re using to literally turn humans into weapons”
Above is another interesting quote from what could be either an inside man, or more plausibly a conspirator. I say this due to his use of “we” and “they.” The man is saying similar things to what the conspirators of any time period have thought, that the government has some secret agenda and tech we don’t know about. The situation just becomes that much more interesting when soldiers’ bodies are being manipulated and turned into weapons. But, this is a video game we’re talking about, so it makes a lot of sense, particularly as you’re very likely to be playing as an aug.
That’s merely an educated guess, educated in the fact that it’d be rather silly to release a trailer hyping augmentations only to have the player be a regular human. Perhaps you’ll start off unaltered, but due to an incident have to undergo surgery. All I’m saying is, playing as an augmented human opens up a lot of avenues for story and gameplay aspects of the game. Reloading your gun faster, sprinting at high-speeds and jumping across buildings may seem like dated concepts, but it’s their storyline implications I’m intrigued by.
My final point is rather abstract and I don’t really know what to make of it. At the very end of the trailer, as the conspirator is speaking, there is a scene in what seems to be an airfield. A man has pointed his thermal scope at a gunman to find that he is augmented, the augmented gunman looks directly at the soldier aiming at him and seemingly with just his sight, knocks him to the ground. I don’t understand what this means, it might be absolute coincidence, but I believe it had something to do with both the retinal chip and brain to brain communications. It was a powerful scene to me, it showed just how inferior an unaltered human can be in this version of 2065.
The only issue I have with the release of the trailer is the inevitable fanboys. Everything has its fans, I understand that, but what I don’t understand is the constant comparisons, pessimism and slating of anything in the mainstream which is similar. As I said earlier, I’m not a huge Call of Duty fan and even though I am a rather big Deus Ex fan, it doesn’t mean I’m going to buy one or the other. If it turns out Black Ops III is innovating and changing the first-person genre, then I’ll be sure to pick it up. The same can be said for Deus Ex, if Mankind Divided looks of a high-quality, then I’ll purchase that too. In this day and age of video games, you are absolutely allowed to have both. Merely because they’re similar does not make them competitors, nor does it make one property inferior to the other.
The world reveal of Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be unveiled this Sunday, April 24th. Other than that there is no other news, which means there is no release date confirmed just yet. Hopefully Mankind Divided and Black Ops III can release as far from each other as possible, this way the two circles of fans won’t overlap and create unnecessary controversy.
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