Treyarch’s Game Design Director Squares Up To PS3 Black Ops Complaints

PlayStation 3 owners have arguably been short-changed when it comes to Call of Duty of late. Whether it’s Microsoft’s aggressive (and successful) exclusive deals or simply slightly poorer versions of the AAA first person shooters over the last few years, it does feel like Xbox 360 owners (and PC owners, of course) get the best.

Whilst Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 3 was actually pretty good on PS3, the previous year’s Black Ops wasn’t. It ran at a good 10fps slower, had much more screen tear and was sub-HD, plus multiple online issues at launch. This, as you’d expect, frustated a lot of PS3 owners, and that seems to have boiled over, finally, last night.


A thread on the official forums (now deleted) focused on the lack of developer interaction on what’s happening with the PS3 version of Black Ops II. It reached over 200 replies, and was filled with dissatisfied PlayStation gamers.

And then David Vonderhaar, Treyarch’s Game Design Director, started posting.

[drop2]”And you seriously wonder why I don’t enjoy talking to you?” he posted. “You’ve been throwing me under a bus this entire thread. [Complaining] that I tweeted about Xbox Live problems to Xbox Live fans is really a new low-point for you. When the PSN melts down, I’ll be doing the same thing. Oh right, I did do that when the PSN melted down.”

“It’s fine. I am a big boy and a few of you are not so great at making friends. When you think about changing your ways; I’ll think about communicating with you more often.”

“In the meantime, I’ll be doing the same thing I did last game, rolling with my own platform-specfic game crews to check the health of the game in the real world. That crew [still] won’t include anyone from the PS3 forum community whose primary post count deals with taking jabs at me.”

It’s clear he’s frustrated. I’ve seen the sorts of comments that used to float around Twitter against Robert Bowling and I found his patience staggering. There’s obviously some mediation required (and Vonderhaar probably shouldn’t have reacted so directly) but it’s also clear that Treyarch do care about other platforms than the 360.

Official forums can be difficult to read, and in this case Treyarch haven’t really done themselves any favours – although I personally don’t think Vonderhaar is really in the wrong with his replies, however barbed – but PS3 owners probably do need a little more interaction from the developers.

It seems like that won’t happen until everyone calms down, though.

Via MP1st.



  1. Nearly a couple of years down the line and I still don’t feel that Black Ops is 100% of the game it should have been, despite enjoying it more than Modern Warfare 3.

    I can definitely understand where David is coming from, though responding to Call of Duty fanboys (possibly one of the worst kind) in such a way was never going to end well.

  2. At least with the new hardware coming up.. I hope the game difference will be gone and only the Deals the big Boys make are the difference..

    • With the PS4 perhaps being off the shelf PC components parity in multi-platform games should be the norm. and if those components are enhanced/tuned in some special way that first party devs can continue pushing it to its limits.

  3. Firstly, I think it’s terrible that a forum thread has been deleted IF it’s just because it’s critical of the game or (lack of) support. If it’s personal then that’s a different story, obviously.

    I am/was (can’t really decide) a fan of the CoD games but I have to agree with the community on this one – Black Ops ran like crap. Utter crap. The gun sounds seemed to be made from clapping two pieces of wood together and stamping on inflated crisp bags. The game was laggy and I actually wasn’t shocked when I mistakenly thought the above article stated that the game ran at 10fps – it certainly felt that was sometimes. Activision need to take the hit on this “abuse” and actually sort it out – Black Ops was very much below par in terms of quality – and to deny it was an Xbox port when one of the PS3 menus stated “Xbox Chat” was laughable. Whilst I don’t doubt Xbox owners make up the lion’s share of CoDs huge sale, I suspect PS3 owners contribute sufficiently, enough to warrant some more customising to suit the PS3.

    I could be wrong but think David is probably paid rather well, so could probably have kept his toys in his pram. It’s the nature of the beast when it come to CoD and it’s community, and he has to take the rough with the smooth.

  4. Release a sub standard game and which cost most people over £50 and you are surprised you get slated on the internet?
    What planet is this prick on?
    I bought it, and traded it in wihin a month, I will never be buying an other treyarch game ever again so he wont have to worry about me complaining in future.

    • I actually think there is more to the point you and Forrest make (but you both make a good point). It’s not that it was a bad game as such (I would have enjoyed MP more without it running awfully), but that the PS3 version was so inferrior to the XBox version which is why the backlash from PS3 owners has been so big.

      • Agreed – That’s why i added the last bit about an inferior product. It’s one thing to have a game not be as enjoyable as you were made to believe, but when you know for a fact that it runs perfectly well on another platform (or better at least) & is supported much better on said platform, it’s gonna get up your nose a bit.

        Especially if you feel your concerns are being ignored.

        From the comments above, its almost like he was saying “yeah, we don’t really give a toss about you PS3 people, Xbox (& PC) is where it’s at!” & whilst their install base is likely a lot larger on Xbox, that’s a shocking viewpoint to have (or to have it come across as at least).

      • Indeed, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Not only was the game worse on PS3, the support was worse, the communication was worse – and then he has the cheek to say you wonder why we don’t support PS3 as much. Well, if they had supported it more I doubt they’d be receiving the backlash that they are!

      • Exactly ps3 gamers are obviously used to decent games, so when they bring out a game thats half made and needs patching, people get annoyed and vent their frustration.

        Treyarch games have always been poorly made, whatever others say, I always said that and this shows that they don’t actually give a toss about the ps3 gamers at all. They have lost one customer.

  5. Bascially, if you release crap, expect to get crap back from the people you disappointed!

    I’m not saying it was a poor game of course, but i know many others that were sorely disappointed with it, so they have to expect a little bit of flak.

    As mentioned above, i don’t think that calling out gamers (especially CoD gamers) for complaining about an inferior product is ever going to end that well.

  6. As others have said, if you release shit expect to get shit back from the people you sold it to. I have been so annoyed by blops, the online was an utter shambles and I even experienced problems in the single player. All have ruined the game for me. If I could I would have a long and offensive rant towards treyarch showing my disappointment mainly. This response back from David is pathetic as well, just making matters worse.

    • I love the bit when he says his crew won’t be anyone from the PS3 community, LOL! I haven’t heard talk like that since the school playground. I hope Activision kick his arse!

      • *forum community. (Going by their comments, I’m sure they’ll be gutted)!

      • haha! it really is like a school boy response: you’re angry at me so I’m not talking to you!

  7. At times, I enjoyed it, most of the time I didn’t. I grew to dislike it so much that I actually got rid of it and went back to MW2. Also, I was fed up of being killed by someone with a cock for an emblem…….

    (this is regarding MP, i thought the SP was great!)

    • Not sure why a picture of a chicken would offend you so much tbh. :)

  8. 3D wasn’t done too well either, when shooting from the hip, the crosshair was on the screen rather than in-front of where the gun was, so of course when you went to aim, there’s a it where it goes behind the gun.

  9. I run a 12 million pound business which is customer focused. I am constantly being slated online with a small share of unhappy customers.. of course they are just a few but the happy customers rarely rave about my services. They are happy and thats it. If you are going to run big business which is customer focused, you have to be open to all bad reviews, feedback and carefully listen to all your unhappy customers to understand exactly not what you are doing wrong, but how you didnt achieve those customers expectations. The online world of reviews and forums does leave me boiling with some of the unreal, not true of what customers say about my services, which i take very personally…but if you dig deep enough, go through all the crap they say, you’ll find the problem and you’ll work on it and hopeful win them back.
    His behaviour is not only attrocious but lack the vision of a business man. This is all about business and unfortunately how you can make more money. IF you dont listen to your PS3 customer base customers, not only you are alienating about 50% of your market when there are only 2 consoles, you’re losing the returning customer. THAT is what he dont seem to understand. A pity. Being a humble business man, knowing when you are wrong, accepting the fact you cant please everyone but that you’ll try is the key to sucess. Very poor effort indeed…

  10. Its pretty tough because I bet the teams put in a lot of hard work in to the PS3 version, did the best they could and still couldnt get them (360 and PS3 versions) to match up in quality… Must be frustrating.
    I dont think Treyarch has a loyalty either way for platform, Acti obviousy does with the deal struck with Microsoft, but ranting that Treyarch didnt do a good job on PS3 (some of the comments on the thread were “They wernt bothered about the PS3 version”) when they had tried and failed, must be tough and easy to take it personally if you put your blood sweat and hard effort into it.

    • But what’s the point of having a rant though? If you know that you have done all you can with it, just ignore & walk away.

      I’m not sure what he thought he was going to achieve by saying what he did.

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