Breaking cover nearly a month in advance of the November 13 release for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the game's launch trailer highlights its self-professed strengths: danger, daredevil heroism, and blockbuster-grade explosions.
Like the launch trailer for its predecessor, 2010's Black Ops, this salvo channels classic rock sounds, swapping out the Stones' "Gimme Shelter" for AC/DC's "Back in Black."
But where the former traded on Cold War-era flashback, Black Ops II presents itself as a much more futuristic affair, with advanced jets, powered wingsuits, walking tanks, invisibility camo and robotic drones a-plenty.
Indeed, though Black Ops II depends on links to the past for continuity reasons, it's the first in the Call of Duty series to dive wholeheartedly into future fiction -- a new world war in 2025, and a nation's automated defense systems turned upon itself.
Previous games in the series have repeatedly broken sales records, but 2012 has seen increasingly canny moves from competing titles.
Borderlands 2 got an early start in September, with extra content arriving earlier than expected and encouraging gamers to hold on to their copies rather than trade them in to fund further spending.
Early October's Resident Evil 6 courted fans of modern action as well as traditional survival horror, Medal of Honor Warfighter will promote itself as a more authentic portrayal of military life come October 23 and, in a first for the Assassin's Creed series, Assassin's Creed III will release in the week before an annual Call of Duty before all eyes turn to the Wii U's global debut in North America on November 18.