×

‘Blackout’ Design Director Couldn’t Predict Characters in Loot Box Decision

Treyarch’s David Vonderhaar didn’t know that “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” Blackout characters would be offered in loot boxes about a month before the game’s release, he wrote in a Reddit thread on Wednesday.

Vonderhaar, a studio design director, was called out in the original post by Reddit user lagmademedoit for his statement in a Game Informer interview in September, in which he said that characters would be unlocked by completing missions and progressing in the game. The interview was a rapid-fire style talk, in which Vonderhaar was asked 195 questions about Blackout, the battle royale style multiplayer in “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.”

While it is true that characters can be unlocked via missions, the missions themselves can be quite time consuming, Plus, the latest update to “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” also brought loot boxes, some of which have characters, like Vacation Hudson. Essentially, this means that players can purchase characters instead of playing to unlock them.

For some players, this seemed to directly contradict what Vonderhaar said earlier.

Popular on Variety

Vonderhaar explained in a comment that he didn’t know this would be the case at the time of the interview.

“At the time this interview was conducted, which was previous to shipping the game, that’s precisely and exactly how it worked,” Vonderhaar wrote. “If I went back in time and re-did this interview, I’d have to answer it the same way I did then.”

Vonderhaar pointed out that other changes, such as Specialist being unlocked without having to complete quests, also happened after the September interview.

“It’s a chicken and egg problem,” Vonderhaar explained. “I can tell you what we have done and what we plan on doing, but things change that I can not predict or I didn’t know about. Doubly true with the business side of things which have little insight into and even less control over.”

Acknowledging this, Vonderhaar wrote that he has to choose between giving interviews, knowing that there’s a possibility some details may change when a title is shipped or even in future updates, or simply not giving interviews.

“The alternative (which I’ve considered a lot lately) is just never give interviews, nor answer question. Which is it?” Vonderhaar wrote. “I answers [sic] the questions as best I can with the information I have at the time I am asked. If time passes and things have since changed … you could accuse me of not being clairvoyant, but a liar is someone who is purposefully trying to deceive you. That’s just not the case.”

More Gaming

  • Activision-Blizzard-Overwatch-League-Grand-Finals-2018

    YouTube Scores Exclusive Streaming for Activision Blizzard's E-Sports, Including Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues

    YouTube landed a multiyear deal as the exclusive live-streaming partner for Activision Blizzard’s e-sports events worldwide, including Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports. The agreement (which excludes China) promises to give a big boost to YouTube Gaming, the video giant’s dedicated home for all things related to games. It’s also a loss for [...]

  • Conan Unconquered

    Tencent Bids for Control of Funcom 'Conan' Games Developer

    China’s social media and gaming giant Tencent is bidding to buy control of Funcom, developer of the “Conan” and “Dune” games. The bid values the Norwegian company at $148 million. Tencent already owns 29% of Funcom, and its bid has been unanimously approved by Funcom’s board of directors. No management changes are planned. The shares [...]

  • 100 Thieves

    Esports Organization 100 Thieves Unveils New Facility in Los Angeles

    As of Wednesday, popular esports organization 100 Thieves has an official home in Los Angeles. The group unveiled its new 15,000 square-foot facility, officially named the 100 Thieves Cash App Compound, in a media preview with some of its biggest personalities and investor Scooter Braun on hand. Also in attendance was Jack Dorsey, the CEO [...]

  • Marvel-Strike-Force-FoxNext

    Disney Sells FoxNext Games Unit to Scopely

    Disney has sold off FoxNext Games, the studio it obtained through the purchase of 20th Century Fox, to mobile-games developer Scopely. Terms of the pact were not disclosed. Under the terms of the pact, Scopely is acquiring FoxNext Games Los Angeles, the game studio behind hit game “Marvel Strike Force,” and San Jose-based Cold Iron [...]

  • Call of Duty The Campaign

    Watch the First Episode of New Call of Duty League Docuseries 'The Campaign' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even a new league comes with history. That’s one of the takeaways from the first episode of “The Campaign,” which follows the Chicago Huntsmen in the lead-up to Activision Blizzard’s new franchised Call of Duty League. Variety is debuting the first episode exclusively, which details some of the narrative that follows the Huntsmen (based in [...]

  • Vindex - Imax

    Imax Jumps Into Esports in Exclusive Pact With Startup Vindex

    Hold on to your popcorn: An Imax location near you could soon be beaming live competitive video-game action onto its big screens. Imax has inked a partnership with Vindex (vindex.gg), an esports infrastructure startup formed by Major League Gaming co-founders Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni, under which Vindex will create esports events and experiences exclusively [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content