The future is black, apparently. If you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you'll know that this is the time of year that a new instalment of one of the biggest game franchises on the planet - Call of Duty - is released. And Treyarch's latest, Black Ops II, did so with great celebration last night - both in a swanky central London ballroom and at HMV's flagship store.
A gaggle of celebrities, both well-known and not-so-well-known, made their way to Bloomsbury Ballroom to engage in a spot of Black Ops II
multiplayer. The faces present included serial-games-event-attendee Professor Green (plus entourage) and Jack Whitehall. I think I saw Kerry Katona wandering around somewhere too.
The ballroom itself was arranged like a military operations base, with consoles set up in a circular arena. Like most military bases, there was also room for a dancefloor and a masked DJ who spun dubstep tracks throughout the night. He was so ninja. Celebrities played one another for (further?) fame and glory as eSports commentators ran their words throughout the matches, play by play. Watching an FPS deathmatch as it were an American Football event made me feel... strange things.See more pictures from the Black Ops II party and HMV here.
While attendees played on, supping cocktails and canned beer, arguably the real party was taking place at HMV's Oxford Street store, where eager gamers were waiting until midnight to get their hands on Black Ops II
- these guys would no doubt show up all of those celebs in Bloomsbury with epic knife-throwing skills.
The man of the night was 19-year-old Taylor Penning from Sutton, Surrey. He's had stories written about him before - you'll recognise this chap as the first in line for the game. Taylor set up camp outside the HMV store on Wednesday November 7, just after 5pm. That's dedication.
And it's dedication that didn't go unnoticed - I had a chat with Treyarch's communications director, John Rafacz, and asked him what he thought about Taylor and all the fans that were standing in line. "Thank you, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to share it with you," he replied. "Because, I tell you what, Call of Duty
is nothing without its community, and there’s not a single day where any of us go to work and forget that. In fact, thank you for making it not [feel like] work."
Taylor, upon receiving his long-awaited game, was equally ecstatic. "I've attended a few midnight events at HMV, most recently for Diablo III
, when I was sixth in the queue, but this time I was determined to be first in line. I love Call of Duty
and I know the launch is going to be pretty spectacular, so being at the front of the queue to buy it will make it an even more memorable experience for me."