Call of Duty: Black Ops II Launch Photos

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By Paul Hunter

Call of Duty: Black Ops II made its historic launch last year, an event that publisher Activision expected to be the biggest entertainment launch of all-time.  With pre-orders exceeding that of last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the franchise is poised to be the top-seller across the entire industry for its fourth consecutive year.

Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision, called the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops "another legitimate, pop cultural phenomenon", with massive launch events around the world.  In Canada, all Future Shop locations opened their doors early, with 120 stores hosting midnight openings on Monday, November 12.  There were plenty of prizes and giveaways including t-shirts, dogtags, patches, posters, energy drinks, and exclusive Future Shop Steelbooks.  The Future Shop downtown Toronto, Vancouver and South Edmonton Common locations also gave away a huge prize pack consisting of a 47” Smart Cinema 3D LED TV with dual play feature, and a 5.1 Channel Blu-ray Home Theatre system (a $1,600 retail value).

Black Ops II is bringing plenty of innovation into the franchise with futuristic weaponry and branching stories driven by player actions.  Activision tapped the likes of Trent Reznor (theme), Jack Wall (score), and tracks from acclaimed music acts Avenged Sevenfold, Skrillex and Alvin Risk.  The story was written by David S. Goyer, the screenwriter for The Dark Knight and the upcoming Man of Steel, and takes places immediately following the events of Call of Duty: Black Ops.

"From day one, we've pushed ourselves to make the best gaming experience of our lives and I am so incredibly proud with what this team has created with Call of Duty: Black Ops II," said Treyarch Studio Head, Mark Lamia.

"Our vision has been to deliver the complete package — something for every type of player. Beginning with the single player campaign, Treyarch introduces things that you've never seen in the Call of Duty franchise before, like branching storylines, non-linear missions and customizing player load outs; or multiplayer, where we've re-written the rules with an all-new 'Pick 10' Create-A-Class, Score Streaks, and entire suite of eSports competitive features like CODcasting, Live Streaming and League Play that further makes Call of Duty a spectator sport; all the way to our biggest Zombies experience yet, which has three modes of play by itself."

The Toronto launch event had plenty of thrills as droves of fans waited until midnight to get their hands on Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

Below are some photos that I took during the night -- have a look at some of the fun that went down!

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The first buyer at Future Shop's flagship Yonge-Dundas location

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Fans line-up down the street for Black Ops II

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First fans coming up the elevator to buy Black Ops II

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Midnight shoppers buying Black Ops II

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Cosplayers dress up for the launch event

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Call of Duty zombies

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Black Ops II logo spraypainted outside the game stations

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Black Ops II helicopter

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Black Ops II game stations

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Huge digital advertisements at Yonge-Dundas Square

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The Black Ops II Hardened Edition

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The Black Ops II Official Strategy Guide

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Black Ops II unboxing

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The Black Ops II Regular Edition

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The Black Ops II Steel Book

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is out now and available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, with the Wii U version releasing on November 18, 2012.  The game is developed by Treyarch and published by Activision.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

[This article originally appeared on the Future Shop Tech Blog]