Treyarch’s studio head, Mark Lamia, defends the use of the same engine for Black Ops 2 in a podcast with Activision community manager Dan Amrich, and likens it to remodeling a house.
He had to say a lot about it, and some of it seems like pretty obvious things to say, but I personally found Black Ops 2 to be a good looking game even though it ran at 60 fps. In fact, the 60 fps was a big reason why Treyarch never really tinkered with the Call of Duty engine too much.
This is what he had to say: “People always ask me, “Is this a new engine?” I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodeled. Just because you’re remodeling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don’t tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing,” he said.
“You might even go as hardcore as replacing the plumbing, and we will do that sort of thing, as an analogy. It’s a gross simplification, but it’s one way to say that. There’s a lot of good still in that foundation that you wouldn’t get rid of, and we don’t. We look to advance in the areas that support our game design.
Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don’t modify what they don’t need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can’t make a competitive product if you’re not upgrading that engine along the way,” he added.
“I think what people are asking for is for us to push. They want us to make a better-looking game; they want things. I don’t think those are things people can’t ask for. We asked ourselves that very same question — we wanted to advance the graphics. I think the questions are valid.
“The answer may not need to be an entirely new engine, but you might need to do an entire overhaul of your entire lighting system. The trick is, we’re not willing to do that if we can’t keep it running at 60 frames per second — but we did that this time. So this is the Black Ops II engine.”
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