The recent introduction of loot boxes, called Reserve Crates, to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 hasn’t gone down well. Players are understandably venting their frustrations on various channels, and in one particular Reddit post, a user called out Treyarch’s David Vonderhaar over an interview in which his responses contradict this latest development.
In his defense, Vonderhaar said that the information he shared was accurate at the time of the interview, and that there are some decisions that aren’t in developers’ control. He also said that he’s already considering not answering questions or giving interviews going forward to avoid such a situation where his responses are held against him for decisions he has little to do with.
Things change along the way and not all of them are design decisions. Other examples of things that changed since that interview we conducted:
Allowing Specialist to be unlocked by anyone without having to quest (based on inputs that players had Cosmetics they had earned, but couldn’t use them in Blackout)
Add new characters for Season Pass holders (based on inputs to give Season Pass holders more content)
Those two things were not exactly in the design plans at the time. It’s a chicken and egg problem. 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.
The alternative (which I’ve considered a lot lately) is just never give interviews, nor answer questions. Which is it?
Vonderhaar understandably wasn’t happy with the implication that he had been clairvoyant. “That’s not the case,” he added while arguing that a liar is someone who deliberately deceives people.
Vonderhaar’s response echoes what many developers have said in the past with regard to microtransactions. In other words, the push to add loot boxes may have come from the top.