The last Call of Duty game that graced the Mac, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, was released in 2008. Since then, we Mac lovers of Call of Duty games have had to sit on the sidelines while watching game after game of CoD pass us by. Well, no more. On September 27, 2012, your Mac will have the honor to host space for Call of Duty: Black Ops…but the price tag may be more steep than many are willing to pay.
Aspyr Media has finally announced the release date for Call of Duty: Black Ops for the Mac and a pre-order special of 10% off the release price. On September 27, Aspyr will launch Call of Duty: Black Ops and the First Strike DLC (which includes 4 additional multiplayer maps and a zombie experience) for $49.99. Also available on the same date will be the Rezurrection Content Pack, merging zombies and space (because that just makes so much sense) for a mere $14.99. The other two Content Packs, Annihilation and Escalation, will be released as a bundle in November for an additional $24.99.
As awesome as it seems to finally get this game on the Mac, a total of $89.97 for game and content packs seems a little steep for a two year old game (the PC version was released in November 2010). So what do we get that makes up for this price?
After looking over the details, one might be tempted to ask “what don’t we get?” The first question many Mac gamers ask for a game with multiplayer features is will the game include Mac to PC crossover support in multiplayer. The answer is a decided no. Aspyr’s Russ Looney, who manages the GameAgent blog, stated that due to technical limitations, Aspyr was unable to include this feature.
The good news is that the game does include Mac-to-Mac multiplayer support. This might seem a no-brainer until you see how many diverse distribution sites Black Ops for the Mac is coming out on: Steam, GameAgent, and the Mac App Store just to name the biggest. Steam and the Mac App Store especially have specific requirements when it comes to multiplayer support, so it’s good to see that no matter where you get it, you’ll be able to play with other Mac gamers.
Steam will utilize Steamworks for achievements in-game but little else. And no SteamPlay, which means that if you purchased the game for the PC some time ago, assuming that you’d get the Mac version for free, you won’t. You’ll have to pay for the Mac version all over again. Interestingly, this will make CoD: Black Ops for the Mac the first stand-alone Mac game on Steam. Some may find that small comfort, though.
The Mac App Store version will be coming out an unspecified, though short, time after the release on other sites. Game Center support with achievements is there, and will thus make this the first Aspyr game to use Game Center. There are a number of other features not included in the Mac version, such as players can’t invite/join via request to a multiplayer server because public multiplayer is all that is offered; that also means no private matches and no remote console to host your own server. You can’t even create multiplayer movie files. Bummer!
Aspyr has created a way for folks to connect and set up matches, though. A new Facebook page, Black Ops Mac, has been created for just that purpose. There’s also a Black Ops FAQ that already exists to help answer your questions; Aspyr promises to update it over time.
The minimum system requirements for the game are also pretty hefty:
- Mac OS X 10.7.4 (to use Game Center, must have 10.8 installed)
- 2.4 GHz CPU
- 4 GB RAM
- 15 GB free disk space
- Supported Video cards: NVIDIA GeForce 650M; ATI Radeon HD 3870, HD 4850, HD 5670, HD 5750, HD 5770, HD 5870, HD 6750M, HD 6770M, HD 6970M (The following graphics cards are not supported: HD3000 (2011 Mac Mini, 2011 MacBook Air, 2011 13” MacBook Pro); HD4000 (2012 13” MacBook Pro); ATI Radeon HD 2000 series, HD 4670, HD6630M; NVIDIA 8000 & 9000 series, GT100 series, 320M, 330M; Intel Integrated GMA950, x3100)
The stiff video card and OS requirements may limit the number of gamers willing to purchase the game. In fact, some have already started to complain about the lack of Snow Leopard (10.6) support, claiming that a lot of Mac users haven’t upgraded to 10.7, let alone 10.8 yet. Will the combination of stiff minimum requirements, lack of a number of expected features, and high price turn too many gamers off?
Whatever the future holds for Call of Duty: Black Ops for Mac, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In response to a question I had about the PC-to-Mac multiplayer support, Elizabeth Howard, Director of Business Development at Aspyr, said, “It’s something we hope to include in future Call of Duty projects.” This is not only promising that they are hoping to include it, but that future Call of Duty projects seem to be on the table.
I wonder which one?