The Xbox One’s backwards compatibility program has proven to be one of the console’s most appealing aspects. It’s also one of the most talked about, with an official voting platform in place to help Microsoft determine the most in-demand Xbox 360 titles for the service.
There’s one game with a clear lead in the voting: Black Ops 2. While the likes of Black Ops and Red Dead Redemption have both made their way to Xbox One after a lengthy campaign by gamers, Treyarch’s 2012 gem still stands as the pillar of what keeps gamers glued to every BC update out of Xbox HQ.
Back in January, the game creeped over the 200,000 vote mark. It now sits at 216,000 votes, 40,000 votes ahead of the second most requested game in Skyrim.
The three Modern Warfare games round out the top 5, and so it’s clear that Activision and Microsoft have a lot of work to do in appeasing an active Xbox community clamouring for a return to the franchise’s golden years.
It’s not that the BC team aren’t trying: this month’s releases in Army of Two and Far Cry 3 are fantastic additions. But they’re not quite the “most anticipated” games Xbox head Phil Spencer alluded to on Twitter last month.
“One of my most anticipated is coming in the next few weeks, some good ones tee’d up,” he said, before adding that he had no comment on the status of Black Ops 2.
That comment came two months after he said that fans shouldn’t take his lack of a response about the game as “lack of caring“, before admitting that he “really wanted to see” the game come to BC.
Things got interesting last month when Bill Stillwell from the Xbox Platform team released a lengthy post on Twitter about the status of Black Ops 2.
Saying he preferred that all Xbox 360 games worked on Xbox One, the reality is that it’s far more complicated due to technical limitations and challenges, and licensing.
Importantly, he said that he and his team wanted Black Ops 2 — among other highly requested Xbox 360 games — on Xbox One as soon as possible.
“This team will continue towards making that a reality,” he said after iterating that he was not allowed to talk about “confidential publisher decisions”.
The Xbox team appears to be working hard to stem what seems like a constant flow of cries for Black Ops 2 on backwards compatibility. A day doesn’t go by without Phil Spencer’s Twitter feed being bombarded with updates about the game’s addition.
We can interpret both Spencer’s and Stillwell’s comments numerous ways.
Stillwell’s comments are interesting because he talks about how BC releases are often “heavily orchestrated events”. Fallout 3‘s addition to BC, for example, coincided with the release of Fallout 4, while Red Dead Redemption came shortly before Rockstar revealed a sequel.
He and Spencer’s comments could be looked at as simply not wanting to compromise Activision’s own plans and release schedule. It could also be that the publisher has different plans for the title, and, considering its popularity on the BC vote, could use that interest as a gauge to justify a remastered version ala Modern Warfare Remastered.
That ultimately wouldn’t be ideal for gamers, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The addition of Black Ops 1 to BC suggests Activision has no plans for a re-release or remaster of that game, but Black Ops 2 stands as one of the series’ best sellers, and also one of its most popular games outside of the Modern Warfare series.
We also have to consider the forthcoming release of Xbox Scorpio, which will also have BC and will run it in the same way as it runs on Xbox One. Activision could be holding out on a Black Ops 2 launch on BC so as to not take away from its Call of Duty 2017 release for the new console.
The addition of Black Ops proved to be a welcomed return to a classic shooter, and it was great returning to the game’s multiplayer after many years away from it. It came to Xbox One in May last year, which is a decent amount of time away from the annual November release of the new Call Of Duty.
If we were to see Black Ops 2 on Xbox One before the release of Scorpio, we can probably bet on it happening next month. The timing seems right, and the interest is there. We might be closer than we think.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article included a link to a report on a Call Of Duty Amazon listing, which was listed as an April Fools prank. It has since been removed.