With Black Ops 2, Activision and Treyarch have shifted the focus from the series' competitive multiplayer to shine the spotlight on other aspects of the game, including the new Zombies mode and player-influenced campaign.
That's not to say multiplayer isn't going to be a big part of the new Call of Duty. Rather, developer Treyarch is eager to show that Black Ops 2 has more than just multiplayer going for it.
The insanely popular Zombies mode sits at the forefront, having been expanded to support 4v4 battles. The competitive mode will pit teams of four against each other, but co-op fans will also have an 8-player cooperative mode to fall back on.
Black Ops 2's Zombies will also be using the multiplayer engine, where as previous renditions were built around a hacked single-player engine with some multiplayer features. This allows more gameplay options, a larger player count, and more zombies across bigger maps, though the undead will still act in familiar patterns.
On the single-player side of things, the new "Strike Force" missions give players a modicum of control over story progression, as shown during a press demo earlier this month. Set in Singapore, the gameplay sequence saw U.S. forces assaulting a docked freighter. Here players can go the conventional COD route by sending in a single unit to take care of everything, but you can also take alternate paths; provide overwatch for entire squads or send in aerial attack drones instead. Can't decide? That's fine, because you'll be able to switch between the different "modes" on the fly.
This essentially allows players to approach the campaign as they see fit, to focus on whatever play style they prefer. From a story standpoint, Strike Force missions won't drastically affect the main plot, yet they give players a chance to explore side stories and discover narrative twists. They're entirely optional as well, so if you'd rather stick with the barebones COD experience, just skip over the missions as they come up.
When asked about co-op, Treyarch noted they had no current plans for a cooperative campaign.
Expect Black Ops 2 to arrive November 13.