Have you been living under a rock for the last three years? No? Then I don\'t need to go into the finer details of the phenomenon that is Call of Duty. Probably the only thing that I need to explain now is that the series has recently split into two almost distinct franchises - both of which are published by Activision, but are actually developed by different companies.

The Modern Warfare series, produced by Infinity Ward has gleaned most of the big publicity, but a second strand to the series continues to be a great success, and has remained firmly rooted in historical conflicts.
In fact, that is probably not all that true. Treyarch\'s Call of Duty games have previously always been set in World War II, that battleground where so many first-person shooters grow up, age, and vanish on such a regular basis. Their last game, World at War, was probably one of the most ambitious treatments of the WW2 setting, but it really didn\'t stand out from the crowd all that much.

Well that has now all changed. The next Treyarch designed game is currently labelled Call of Duty: Black Ops. The tired World War II setting has been ruthlessly set aside, and at long last the Call of Duty seires is turning its eyes towards the Cold War.

The Cold War, for so long the preserve of spies, secret agents and weapons races is not the most obvious of targets for an FPS, but it looks as if Treyarch are going to weave together actual historical conflicts with more fantastical scenarios. Think something along the lines of a merging of Rambo and James Bond. (Incidentally, am I the only one that thinks the end of the Cold War has really dented Bond\'s story lines? I miss the caricatured Soviet generals trying to bring down the West through some crazily complex and impossibly convoluted scheme)

Treyarch and Activision have remained relatively tight lipped about the conflicts that are going to be included in the game. Certainly, at one point the player is seen piloting an SR-71 Blackbird over Russian tundra, whilst directing the movements of troops on the ground. Certain shots in the recently released trailer show a jungle setting, and irregular troops that look suspiciously like Viet Cong, so some fighting in the jungles of Vietnam seems assured. Rumours have been circulated that some of the set pieces in the game are set in Cuba, some in Africa.

And of course there is always the possibility that Treyarch have not just copied the cinematic styles introduced by Modern Warfare, perhaps they will introduce an element of the alt-history to the game - troops storming across the Berlin Wall, infiltrating East German woodland? Or the aftermath of a missile attack launched from Cuba on the US? A rekindling of the war between the Koreas?

Whatever does emerge, it will be a breath of fresh air to escape from the usual drudgery of a WW2 game - and will be great to see some new weapons entering the fray. M16 anyone? Now I just have to go off and make sure all of our Vietnam and Cold War books are back in stock in  time!

I will leave you with the first trailer for Black Ops, and because I am a very even handed, fair type of sort, I will follow it up with the latest heartfelt trailer for their biggest rival, Medal of Honor. Enjoy!