CODBLOPS 2 Has Reznor & Villain With Beard

Trent Reznor, who it’s still weird to see referred to as an Academy Award Winning Composer, will be providing the theme tune for Call of Duty Black Ops 2. Both he and the FPS have come a long way from Quake, although I’ll leave it to you to decide in which direction each has been travelling. The news comes along with a trailer for the game that shows the villain for the first time. He has escaped from a place but doesn’t have any weapons but that doesn’t matter because he HAS TAKEN ALL OF THE BLOPS’ WEAPONS. That’s the plot. Oh, and it’s the future, so jetpack dives from space and baby AT-ATs.

Reznor had this to say about COD in an interview with USA Today:

I have always looked to that franchise as the cutting edge of what seemingly unlimited budgets and full-on not cutting any corners can do in the current day and age.

After talking about changes in the industry, mainly in terms of scale, he does acknowledge that indie games still exist and that CODBLOPS isn’t trying to be one. That’s good. I like to imagine he plays sad pixelly things as well.

As for the sound of the theme, it reflects the story.

What I learned in listening to the full story and the amount of effort that has gone into the back story and the characters and the full preparation there is a lot of reservation and angst and sense of loss and regret and anger bubbling under the surface. So it didn’t make sense to have a gung ho, patriotic feeling theme song. It has to feel weighty. There is a lot of remorse and apprehension here. So choosing to arrange it a bit more with guitars and drums and aggressively sounding, that struck a tone with them.

Angst, loss, regret and anger. That’s the Call of Duty I’ve come to know.

Let’s go back in time.


  1. Brun says:

    Wait, is that first screenshot a real shot from the trailer? Because good god it looks atrocious. It’s like they tried to make him look “realistic” but instead it looks like they Photoshopped some real guy’s picture over the game.

    • grundus says:

      My reaction was pretty similar. There must be roughly one third of a graphic in that screenshot. Maybe it’s a crop from a larger scene where the guy in the image is in the window of a distant skyscraper, in which case this is graphics, but if not this is grophics.

    • LTK says:

      I had the same reaction. And then this quote…

      I have always looked to that franchise as the cutting edge of what seemingly unlimited budgets and full-on not cutting any corners can do in the current day and age.

      …pretty much proves that by ‘not cutting any corners’ they evidently don’t mean ‘not being constrained by prehistoric console hardware’. What an abomination. Watching the video in 720p actually makes it worse.

      • woodsey says:

        Yeah, that quote was just embarrassing. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and presume he was fed that line by some PR guy.

        • mouton says:

          Also, he is a music-making fellow, not a game-making fellow. I can forgive him mistakes made outside the field he specializes.

      • SirKicksalot says:

        They squeeze every ounce of power out of that prehistoric hardware.

        The quote makes more sense when you consider what he says later in the interview:

        It’s interesting to see gaming go from one guy in the Robotron era to when I worked on Quake with the ‘Mom-and-Pop shop’ of id Software fresh off the success of Doom, but it still was a core of a handful of guys that could work autonomously and churn out interesting cool stuff. And jumping back to id a few years later when it’s Doom 3 and now that handful of guys has a zero at the end of how many there are and the scale of, wow, there’s a hell of a lot more resources need to go into the game.

        And then tuning out of that world for a while and popping in at Treyarch and the scale of it and, most impressively, the coordination of it all. I was in there a month ago or so, and there’s everybody in their cubicles working on minutiae that fits into this whole in some way. And I start thinking, ‘Man, this is coming out in a few months. Somebody has planned out that all these pieces fit together.’ I know how hard it is to get three other guys and the lights to come on for a tour. It is mind-blowing to see that coordination and effort and the handshaking part. It’s very impressive.

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      • Universal Quitter says:

        I think Treyarch’s CoD games are abortions, but you visual-philes make talking about the industry less fun. How DARE they not be on teh cutting edge of visual technology! You know we’re probably about smack dab in the middle of the uncanny valley, when it comes to ‘realistic’ graphics, so maybe that 720p isn’t such a bad thing.

        Seriously, though, most gamers don’t have enormous monitors, and you cannot expect the company to spend more than you are worth as a customer [x(60$)]. I don’t want to subsidize your pretty textures that I can’t enjoy, and I don’t want them taking up space on my hard drive. If you were profitable, games would look better. Just be grateful that we even have a gaming industry and it DOES progress, you entitled turds that lack real problems.

        • noom says:

          This outrage at people daring to express negative opinions of a thing is getting awfully passé round these parts. If you wish to go trotting about on your moral high-horse, I can thoroughly recommend the Guardian’s comments section.

        • Brun says:

          It’s not about being on the cutting edge of technology – it’s about having a consistent visual style, which is an artistic decision and independent of technical constraints. In order to have that consistent style, they would need to dumb down the detail on the face so that it’s in line with that of the body.

  2. Drake Sigar says:

    “Talking. With. Unneccessary pauses. Makes me. Sound. So cool!”

  3. Belsameth says:

    Man! I love the Quake soundtrack. The whole of it, including the weird noises and such that make up the rest of the hour orso…

    • magicwalnuts says:

      Man, so true. Me and my buddies were playing some Quake recently, and realized how amazing the sound design is in that game. We might all be making the exact same grunt every time we jump, and the same sound may play every single time someone gets gibbed, but those were some GREAT sounds. Uber props go to the noise the teleporter makes. Amazing.

  4. SirKicksalot says:

    The first BLOPS had excellent faces.

    id better get Trent Reznor to work on Doom 4…

    • BreadBitten says:

      It’s not id you have to worry about, just pray Trent doesn’t spaz out near the end thinking his work could’ve been better.

  5. wodin says:

    he has plastic face…

  6. lionheart says:

    Where’s Tubbs?

    and shouldn’t Phil Collins be doing the theme tune?

    OH LORD!

  7. djbriandamage says:

    Between his soundtrack for The Social Network and that 4-disc ambient album I think Reznor is as strong a composer as he’s ever been. He has a characteristic tone and mood but exercises a good range of media for those consistencies.

    • zaprowsdower says:

      What’s the name of this four disc ambient album?

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I agree that Reznor is at the top of his game creatively, but his score for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was so overwrought and consistently mismatched scene-to-scene that it made the movie a real chore to sit through. I hope his next opus is a bit more appropriate to the medium.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Ghosts I-IV was good. It’s just a shame he did all those other records from 1998 until that one.

  8. magnus says:

    He was sitting at a desk in a strange way – EEEEEVIL!

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Hero for the 99%

      Their hero has wiped them out!

      Nuketown DLC

      Blunt propaganda like this makes me sick. Yeah boogieman wants to nuke you, government will protect you, so you better hand ’em yer rights and play some Duty of War, you american ass!

  9. Mr.Crack says:

    What’s this 13th month of the year the trailer mentioned? Is that DLC as well?

  10. Tei says:

    I think Total Biscuit as gone waaaaaaaaaaaay to hard here, becoming enemy.. of the civilization!.

    Youtubers: The new zombies.

  11. BreadBitten says:

    “You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard that Trent Reznor’s selling out to Activision? Jesus,” – Chris Cornell

    • Obc says:

      Chris Cornell + Timbaland … enough said xD

    • derbefrier says:

      man i haven’t heard the term “sellout” since high school. Teenage angst FTW!

    • Elevory says:

      For those wondering, Chris Cornell didn’t say that. However, Reznor did say the following on Twitter in 2009, regarding the Cornell + Timbaland collaboration:
      “You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell’s record? Jesus.”

    • theleif says:

      All you know about him is what he’s sold you, dumb fuck.
      He sold out long before you’d ever even heard his name.
      He sold his soul to make a record, dip shit.
      Then you bought one.

  12. Scandalon says:

    Quake had a soundtrack?!? Heh, I think I put the CD in for the music once, that was enough…

    And yes, those faces…ugh.

  13. Asokn says:

    “There is a lot of remorse and apprehension here”

    Indeed there is.

  14. db1331 says:

    And you could have it all
    With a subscription to ELITE
    Every DLC
    Exclusive for a week

    Then you could start again
    A dozen months away
    Another 60 bucks
    Another CoD to play

    • Bonedwarf says:

      I love you.

    • max_1111 says:

      Well done good sir, well done.

    • BreadBitten says:

      [Golf clap] Which is weird because that’s exactly what you hear near the end of ‘Non Entity’ in ‘Live Beside You in Time’!

    • Conor says:

      I want you.

      • Gonefornow says:

        And you can have it all!
        db1331® comes in three(3) varieties:
        -Gold edition (get all exclusive appendages).
        -Standard edition (duplicate organs not included).
        -Subscription model (get a new chunk every month).

        And don’t forget db1332© is coming out next summer.

  15. Paul says:

    That quake theme is just brutal, and legendary.

  16. industrialoco says:

    the bad guy is michael douglas

  17. Ashen says:

    Both he and the FPS have come a long way from Quake, although I’ll leave it to you to decide in which direction each has been travelling.

    I know, I know the answer to that! Downward Spiral.

    • ninjapirate says:

      And it’ll continue to go further down the spiral; it’s just the beginning of the end.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Oh internet, you’re such a pretty hate machine.

        • Shadram says:

          There’s a lot of love on the internet, too! Most of it in graphic close-up.

  18. Lytinwheedle says:

    The evil guy is the hero of the 99%, it’s hardly surprising that the most despicable neoliberal gaming companies are shilling for class war.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, I saw that and thought hurray, American class warfare bullshit.

      F3ck: I think he means neoliberalism from the point of view of small state free market, rather than the sort of liberal who would support welfare programmes (although the Liberal Democrats have both, it’s a confusing party).

    • max_1111 says:

      Yea i kinda wanted to flip my desk over once i saw, “Messiah of the 99%”.

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        Ah yes, logical thought. We have dismissed this theory.

      • Gap Gen says:

        A YouTube montage of gamers watching this trailer and flipping their desks over would be incredible.

    • CrookedLittleVein says:

      He said neoliberalism, you silly person.

  19. fiddlesticks says:

    Isn’t Reznor a boss in Super Mario World? Why did he change his profession?

    • Shadram says:

      He never got to be in Mario Galaxy. On the plus side, all the buzzsaws in his castle made interesting noises, and won him an Oscar.

      (Is it ‘him’ or ‘them’? If I remember 1992 correctly, the Reznor boss is the 4 rhinos on a ferris wheel. I never really understood.)

  20. killmachine says:

    well. trent did blow back then. you should know this. he’s come a long way from downward spiral to with teeth.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The Downward Spiral is one of the biggest works of musical genius I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing! :D

      • killmachine says:

        do, i don’t mean he blows. i mean he did blow. it’s a synonym for a white substance that you snuff up your nose. downward spiral is in fact one of my most favorite albums. with teeth on the other hand not so much. it has it’s moments but it’s too much pop.

        • RegisteredUser says:


          Massive forehead slap for being such a comment-douche.
          Don’t be sleepy, read and comment, I guess..never would have read it with that meaning though I think.

          I actually read about his addiction before, but conveniently filed it under “Ate the usual rockstar food” and forgot about it again(mostly because he cleaned up from what I gather).

          There, I made a cunning edit. :P

  21. dethtoll says:

    I misread it as Reznov at first…

  22. The First Door says:

    Is it just me or does the phrase ‘full-on not cutting any corners’ just sound wrong? Can you not do something full-on? Because if so I’m full-on not scuba diving right now!

  23. max_1111 says:

    “I have always looked to that franchise as the cutting edge of what seemingly unlimited budgets and full-on not cutting any corners can do in the current day and age.”

    As much as i try to avoid hopping on a CoD hate train, this quote has left me scratching my head.
    I feel as though sir Reznor has not been playing the same Call of Duty games we have.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Its weird, because given all his co-operations and tech exposure, you’d imagine he understands that it all still basically runs on “must be compatible with x generations old consoles” target-details / engines.

      But given that he’s talking about something he knows he’s getting paid to work on..cum grano salis.

    • Koozer says:

      Honestly, he’s right, if you assume they will only be developing for the biggest market, ie. the consoles. They squeeze as much juice as they possibly can out of those things, even if it still looks like waxy soup in the end.

      • max_1111 says:

        Are they really though?
        All i ever heard from Activision reps on the subject was hogshit like, “we’re in the business of making games that are fun and making sure they always run at sixty frames per second!!! HOLY SHIT ALWAYS REMEMBER SIXTY FRAMES PER SECOND!!!”
        …that may not be verbatim.

        I’m not going to pretend i know anything about what’s under the hood of the Modern Warfare engine(s) but frankly i think they could do a lot more (with the existing tech) than they are.

        • HermitUK says:

          It’s the IW engine, which has always been an (increasingly heavily modified) Quake 3 engine. The problem for them is that 60fps is actually a really good target to be hitting – in terms of controls they feel much more responsive, and I’m still convinced this is one of the reasons why it’s so popular over on the consoles.

          You could get much better looking visuals with a proper replacement for the now positively ancient engine (Compare RAGE to MW3, for instance. Or Insomniac’s PS3 Ratchet and Clank games, which run at 60fps and look better than your average CoD). But Activision aren’t interested in putting a team to work on a new engine for their needs, as that wouldn’t directly translate into a tidy annual sum of money.

          It’s also hilarious that IW and Treyarch ended up with their own versions of the engine, because IW apparently got a bit annoyed about other developers encroaching on their series and refused to share code improvements with them (or so the rumours go :p). So Blawps was built on a heavily modified CoD4/WaW engine, rather than MW2’s version of the engine.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Unlimited budgets = the Quake 3 engine and gameplay that consists of pushing forward and hitting the ‘shoot’ button once in awhile.

  24. marcusfell says:

    Looks like COD is finally secure enough in its position to do something vaguely interesting.

    • elmo.dudd says:

      Finally fully free of West and Zampella, the guys who brought us Stopping Power, Juggernaut, Painkiller, Martyrdom, Commando, One Man Army, 3x Frag Grenade… Yeah the CoD4 campaign was okay, but they also did the MW2 campaign. Black Ops showed some significant deviation from their formulas, and Black Ops 2 looks like a full blown departure “Hey, now we can try things”.

  25. RegisteredUser says:

    “CODBLOPS. Cutting edges, not corners.”

    Marketing genius.

  26. Beelzebud says:

    Joe Biden needs a shave and a shower.

  27. abandonhope says:

    I rate this news one Michael Bay ADHD action hard-on up. Also, no thanks.

    • max_1111 says:

      I thought Baysplosions were the appropriate units for rating, no?

  28. magnus says:

    Is that Tony Todd at the begining? Sure looks like it is.

  29. magicwalnuts says:

    My god, that Quake theme still gives me goosebumps after all these years.

  30. Mitza says:

    Black guy talking… cut to tagline “The future is BLACK!”. Now that’s some comedy right there.

    Also, “The most ambitious Call of Duty to date”… isn’t that like saying “This is a new COD”? Duuuh… I expect that line to appear for each of the next COD titles as well.

  31. N'Al says:

    Does anyone actually know of a place (online) where you can buy the Quake soundtrack?

    • Flint says:

      The original Quake game disc has all the songs stored as CD audio files, so you can use the disc like a normal CD (including ripping the songs off it). AFAIK that’s the only way to legally get the OST.

  32. WinTurkey says:

    Wow, it’s a good thing they’re improving the singleplayer campaign, after all, that’s what CoD is all about, not the MP which is apparently still 360QwikSkopexxxx on tiny maps.

  33. kael13 says:

    Gosh, the Quake soundtrack is rather godly.