Call of Duty: Black Ops 'First Strike' DLC Announced

By Alice O'Connor, Dec 20, 2010 6:00am PST The inevitable first downloadable content pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops was announced over the weekend on Microsoft's Major Nelson Radio podcast.

Dubbed 'First Strike,' the pack of five maps will launch on February 1, 2011, priced at 1,200 Microsoft Points ($15). As per Microsoft's arrangement with publisher Activision, it'll be released first on Xbox 360. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map packs released under the same arrangement took around a month to make it PC and PlayStation 3.

"We learned a lot of lessons in the development and design of the maps on the shipped game," developer Treyarch's director of online Dan Bunting explained. "For DLC we really wanted to go bigger with some of the things we learned that people liked. We focused a lot more on providing variety of weaponry, variety of engagement types, variety of verticality--a lot more verticality, bringing some sniper opportunities into it."

"One of the popular things we've added in several of the maps in the shipped game were the scripted moments, scripted elements and interactivity" he added, "so that's something we've made sure we wanted to bring to every single one of the new maps.

The five maps are:


  • Berlin Wall: set around the Checkpoint Charlie crossing in divided Berlin.
  • Discovery: German research base in Antarctica, abandoned since World War 2.
  • Kowloon: on the rainy rooftops of Kowloon City in China, drawing inspiration from the single-player.
  • Stadium: a hockey rink in the North-Eastern USA.
  • Ascension: still classified information, apparently.

"$15 for that?" you might scoff. Scoff all you want! The first MW2 DLC pack racked up over one million sales on Xbox 360 on launch day alone. Given that the base game of Cod Blops broke MW2's one- and five-day sales records, it's a fair bet that First Strike will sell more than a few copies. Doubtless, Activision will kindly and loudly inform us of how well it sells.

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  • There's an interesting opinion article on CVG about the map packs:

    I don't agree with the guy supporting Ubisoft (since they love persistent-connection DRM and mandatory UPlay registration), but this is the best sentence in the entire article: "The only way CoD players are going to get more bang for their buck is if Activision is made to fear the competition."

    What is Call of Duty's competition? Earlier this year, in the "action-oriented tactical FPS" space, it was pretty much only Bad Company 2, and that game's DLC packs were just the same maps under a different game mode. There was also Bad Company 2: Medal of Honor (a.k.a. the multiplayer section of Medal of Honor [2010]), which didn't stand up as well as BC2. Team Fortress 2 isn't in the "action-oriented tactical FPS" space, but it's getting free updates; that doesn't seem to "count" because "it's made by Valve"; nothing made by Valve "counts" because they're "weird altruistic nuts swimming in Steam sales revenue".

    However, coming up in 2011, we have a couple interesting entries into Call of Duty's space: Battlefield 3, and Brink. Battlefield is its own thing with some overlap, but I think that Brink could take a bit of market share from Call of Duty if it's good enough and balanced better and more often than Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3.

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