Call of Duty: Black Ops II launched in Birmingham
Gaming fans turned out in full force last night as the eagerly anticipated Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was finally released early this morning.
Avid gamers began queuing early in the day outside the Bullring’s GAME store, in the hope of securing a spot to become one of the first to get their hands on the game ahead of it’s special midnight launch.
The gaming store franchise pulled out all the stops for the latest national launch event, opening 319 branches across the country beyond normal trading hours including a number of outlets across Birmingham and the Midlands.
While HMV’s flagship Oxford Street store in London – where some fans had camped out since last week – hosted specially invited celebrity guests including Conor Maynard, Louis Smith and Professor Green; the Birmingham Bullring GAME store was kitted out with military paraphernalia in the guise of an armory, with ‘marines’ and an ‘SAS soldier’ guarding the store throughout the night.
Those waiting excitedly were issued numbered tickets to secure their spot in the queue, as well as giving them the chance to win Call Of Duty gaming gift hampers.
Amongst the fans in central Birmingham were young gamers Liam Bradley and Philip McCahill, who’ve been following the Call of Duty (COD) series since it’s first incarnation.
“I wanted to get the game before all of my friends basically, have bragging rights and to play it before them. I think the game is quite addictive and you get a sense of achievement, and also the connectivity. Lots of my friends and I speak on it and organise related events,” explained Liam.
“I think the [new] game will have changed quite a lot and hopefully be very different, because the last few chronologies have been quite similar but this seems to have zombies and a new points system.”
His friend Philip added: “It’s a really cool gaming series, it’s gone through nine games and I’ve played all of them so this one’s quite important”.
Set in 2025, the new game lets players deploy a range of new weapons as well as unmanned drones in battle, with a clear focus firmly on the multiplayer aspect, allowing players to do battle with over 40 million opponents over 14 maps.
The game is predicted to sell more copies than last title Modern Warfare 3, which took more than £248m on its first day in stores in US and the UK. Two weeks after its launch, CoD:MW3 took a billion dollars and did it in less time than it took film blockbuster Avatar to reach the same figure.
According to store organiser Sarah Stallard, the simultaneous national events create a buzz which bring the gaming community and fans of the CoD series together to share a common passion.
“There’s a big gathering outside, people are coming into the store and having a browse to find out what they want to buy, many of them have already pre-ordered the game itself but there is a lot of merchandise that’s being snapped up.
“We’ve got a ticketed system in place so the customers don’t have to queue for hours, we’ve got entertainment, staff dressed in army gear, the place has been done up and we’ve got the DJ on so it’s a great night!”
At the city’s Sutton Coldfield GAME store, fans were greeted with free refreshments from a paintball squad. Keen gamer Keiran Loveder, 22, pre-ordered his copy of the brand new title.
“I was at the GAME store in Sutton Coldfield for the launch of Black Ops 2. There were loads of Call Of Duty fans lining up to get their hands on a copy, myself included,” he said.
“This launch felt like more of an event compared to previous ones, as the staff from the National Paintball Field were outside the store dressed in full army gear and they were also giving away free cans of Monster Energy to customers.”
GAME marketing director Anna-Marie Mason said: “Call of Duty fans can’t wait to lock and load the latest installment of this epic game.”
Black Ops 2 is available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC from November 13 worldwide, and on Wii U from November 30 in Europe.