Expect more engaging AI in Black Ops 3, the next Call of Duty shooter from Treyarch

The Call of Duty series has quickly become a year-long expectation, and with a new generation of consoles, developers need to take more time to create something that beats the predecessor. This has caused Activision to create a three-year turnaround introducing Sledgehammer Games into the roster of developers working on the franchise along with Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Sledgehammer Games worked on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare last year, and now it’s Treyarch’s turn and they have a lot of features planned.

With each Call of Duty introducing something more impressive into the mix, the next developer in line not only has to match that, but also offer something more spectacular than the last. Advanced Warfare offered exo-suits and the ability to boost jump and dodge in mid-air which completely changed the gameplay, so far Treyarch have one-upped that mechanic by actually sticking bionic body parts on the soldiers in Black Ops 2, but other than adding more mechanics, Treyarch have worked on the games AI too, hoping to offer something better than the usual static AI.

AI in shooters are often nameless, faceless, and expendable characters which you barely share any interaction with unless they’re a main part of the story arc. You’ll often see your comrades get taken down by an onslaught of bullets and you’ll turn away and carry on shooting without batting an eyelid. That’s something Treyarch want to change in Black Ops 3, Treyarch’s Mark Lamia revealed in an interview with the Official PlayStation Magazine:

Without a three- year cycle, we wouldn’t have been able to take the kind of risks that we took on this game, frankly. We would not have been able to overhaul our entire AI system, which supports the kind of engagements in an open play space like we have.

Black Ops 3 also has a keen focus on co-operative play with the game’s main campaign allowing either two players locally, or four players online to jump into the campaign at any time and work together to tackle the massive open play space the game will contain. That’s another reason why they’ve had to overhaul the game’s AI

“it was critical as soon as we decided to make a co-op game, because we [still] needed to make it feel like a Call of Duty game, which meant we needed to have a lot of stuff going on to entertain the player at all times”.

Another new addition to the game will be the introduction of robots as both enemies and comrades, another part of the game Treyarch has worked on making feel genuine. Because robots act different to humans, Treyarch need to work hard on human AI to make them “look smart,” with them making decisions humans will make, such as ducking for cover and taking the right opportunity to shoot at you. Robots are different, “They’re not as worried about their own self-preservation,” explains Lamia. That means you’ll likely see robots taking more chances, charging at you in a hail of gunfire and taking more risks that human players may not.

With the introduction of robot AI, it “introduces a lot of new variety [of gameplay] that we’ve never had before” says Lamia which, combined with the added mayhem of human soldiers, and vehicles, Black Ops 3 is set to offer “more complex AI interactions” than what we’ve seen in the series before.

You can read about this and more in the Official PlayStation Magazine which launches in store and online tomorrow (Friday, May 8)

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