We Interview: Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Associate Director, Design Matt Scronce and Director of Production Yale Miller

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During our preview for Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 (of which you can read our thoughts here), we had the opportunity to interview Matt Scronce (Associate Director, Design), and Yale Miller (Director of Production) from Treyarch. There were a few things we were curious about after the presentation, and both were willing to sit down and discuss these questions. While certain things we’ll still have to wait until either Call of Duty Next, beta, or launch to see and understand, their answers were very much appreciated.

The first question we had was about how Treyarch has had four years to develop Black Ops 6. After all, the team only had two years to push out Black Ops Cold War. How did that help them succeed with Black Ops 6 compared to their previous games?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Direct

Matt Scronce felt like it gave them the time to define what it means to be a Black Ops game, both for Treyarch and for their players. With moving to a unified engine across all franchise games, they were able to look for that “signature Black Ops feel”. Yale Miller followed up with the thought of being able to try new things as well with that additional time. There were things they tried with the movement that didn’t work before arriving at Omnimovement and the ah-ha moment of discovering what this new system could do.

The extra time also gave them the opportunity to be intentional, being able to make sure that what they were doing made sense within the confines of a Black Ops game. If they didn’t have that kind of time this foundational rebuild might have been difficult. That, along with getting the team on the same page with new technology advancements to improve the experience.

We were also quite interested to learn more about Omnimovement, the new system in play for the locomotion of the player. While it’s a really neat idea, sprinting, sliding, and diving in every direction, is tough to master, so it seems. The question posed was, “Is the team planning to implement a training mode or onboarding mission through the campaign to help players to get a handle on it?”

Matt again took the lead, saying they’ll have more onboarding efforts to share later, but that they’ve always loved the idea of something being easy to pick up but more difficult to master. Treyarch doesn’t have expectations that players will immediately understand the mechanics after one match, it’s about giving them glimpses of what you can do so you start attempting to learn the intricacies of something like Omnimovement. Those moments of, “Wait, what did that player do? What was that? How do I do that?”.

Yale also mentioned that you are essentially retraining your brain when utilizing Omnimovement’s capabilities. Even he forgets he can strafe-sprint in combat situations. It also goes the other way, where it would take playing another game to make you realize how much you’re missing without that mechanic. In any case, after talking about Omnimovement, it certainly looks like practice will make perfect. Or at least get you started.

One question we love asking is whether or not the team had any fun stories behind the scenes during development. Matt couldn’t think of much, but Yale had a hilarious one to tell. As they were explaining the idea of Omnimovement to the team, Matt and Yale were running around on camera to show them what it meant. I can only imagine the antics that ensued as either of them might talk for a moment, and then sprint to their left while still remaining eyes forward, or rolling on the ground to show off the new supine prone position. I’m sure more than a few bruises were earned that day.

Matt did recall during this how they were explaining to the motion capture group just how they should be moving. Telling them to back sprint like an NFL cornerback helped, but it was what came next that was especially funny. The poor stunt guys had to do that, for quite some time, with a mock light machine gun prop in hand – not a small weapon in the slightest. Matt was certain their quads must have been on fire for a week after that exercise.

The last question we had was regarding the campaign and what inspiration might be behind it, as well as any conspiracy theories lurking in the background. While Yale didn’t bring up any specifics in terms of movies or TV, he had a few answers that might surprise you. Diablo IV was part of the inspiration for their different leveling trees, which makes sense given the Activision connection. But, he also mentioned a puzzle mission with Zelda’s dungeon-like qualities; something we’re really looking forward to discovering. There is also a heist mission – another mission type we can’t wait to play.

Of course, there will be a ton of pop culture involved, but overall they’re going for a 90’s spy thriller story. As for conspiracy theories, they also wanted to continue on their own path. There will not be anything specifically referenced to Black Ops 6, as the team feels like the narrative they’re building stands on its own with the plots and deceptions they’ve created. Personally, we’re happy with that, as the Black Ops series has done a phenomenal job crafting exciting scenarios without having to pilfer something to generate interest.

Our thanks go out to both Matt Scronce and Yale Miller for taking the time to answer a few questions about Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 for us! Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 releases on October 25th, on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series consoles, and PC.

David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.

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