‘Call of Duty: Black Ops III’ – The Age of Wearable Technology

Black Ops 3_Ramses Station_Hendricks copy

Black Ops 3_Ramses Station_Hendricks copy

“The age of wearable technology” has officially taken over Call of Duty: Black Ops III. The reveal trailer (and the teaser for the reveal trailer) have finally been released and it’s clear that the latest Black Ops title will feature a near-future setting derived from modern day fears and anxieties about technology. As they say at Activision, “Lines are blurred between our own humanity and the cutting-edge military robotics that define the future of combat.”

Official Reveal Trailer released Sunday night

There’s a bit of a shock here for gamers who haven’t bought the latest-generation consoles: Black Ops III is for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC only. No Xbox 360, no PS3. It’s a big bet because every previous generation of the game has sold millions of copies on each platform.

No, Treyarch isn’t showing off their version of Cyberdyne and the rise of the machines. The trailer focuses on how humanity will integrate their own bodies with technology, and the repercussions of doing so on a state-sponsored level. Worrying about athletes with prosthetic or cybernetic limbs is one thing, but advanced “super soldiers” is quite another.

As many commenters have already pointed out, the trailer bears striking similarities to franchises like Deus Ex Machina and Ghost in the Shell. All three feature humans taken beyond natural ability by merging with technology and the ramifications therein. Although our real life technology is barely scratching the surface with products like Google Glass, the concepts are more present in the modern psyche than ever before.

“Ember” Tease for the Reveal Trailer from last week

In fact, the trailer was so saturated with robotic limbs, linked consciousnesses, and social unrest, you might even say that the latest Call of Duty has officially entrenched itself in a genre well-loved by sci-fi aficionados: cyberpunk. None of the concepts shown off are completely original, but it should be interesting to see how Treyarch packages them.

Considering the production values of this teaser and the precedent set up in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, I can only imagine how much capital was spent on the narrative development of this title. While it most likely won’t feature the stylized, gritty, and surreal landscapes that form the pillars of the genre, the new story elements will hopefully spice up the conventional action tropes usually prevalent in the franchise.