“Did you just compare us to Nickelback?” laughs David Vonderhaar, studio design director at Treyarch. I’m chatting to Vonderhaar in Activision’s Sydney office about Call of Duty: Black Ops III and my Nickelback question hits the room like a sharp, misjudged fart. I am, after all, likening a series he’s been a part of for over a decade to a band Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney once singled out as the precise reason rock ’n roll is dying.
While it seems clear to me that neither of us are Nickelback fans, Vonderhaar hears me out. Strangely enough Nickelback and Call of Duty are bizarrely alike. Both attract tsunamis of criticism and hostility, and yet both remain massively popular by any measure. It has to be a weird pill to swallow for both parties. I ask Vonderhaar if this is a hard thing to reconcile.
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