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‘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.

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.”

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