Sixty-five years after the end of World War II, the conflict seems to have lost its attraction for video-game developers.

Storied video-game franchises such as "Medal of Honor," "Battlefield" and "Brothers in Arms" seem to have either died off or turned to modern settings after producing more than 20 games set in the battles of World War II's six years.

The most recent "Battlefield" game had a modern setting, and so does the next "Medal of Honor" title. And after four successful World War II-based games, it looks as if "Call of Duty" is giving up altogether on that era.

Activision has been flying high on the business of turning armed conflict into entertainment for nearly a decade, pumping out tremendously successful "Call of Duty" games every year since 2003.

The publisher manages the seemingly impossible, releasing a game that takes nearly two years to make annually, by hot-swapping developers, cycling the popular series between the game's originators Infinity Ward and developers Treyarch.

Last year's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" was developed by Infinity Ward. This year's "Call of Duty: Black Ops" comes from Treyarch.

It will be the first "Call of Duty" game that Treyarch has made not set in World War II. Instead, the upcoming "Black Ops" will take place in the 1960s and '70s, taking gamers through the secretive, often unbelievable, birth of modern unconventional warfare.

Dan Bunting, senior producer at Treyarch, says the transition from creating a game of war based on World War II to one that explores the Cold War sparked an "explosion of creativity" inside the studio.

"In the beginning, a lot of people didn't know much about the Cold War because it was so secretive," Bunting said. "But you start doing the research, you start seeing how interesting that era was. We're just now getting the information about it, and the stuff that went on was just crazy. Once we started doing the research, people started getting really jazzed about working on this."

Bunting says the results will be a game unlike anything they've ever done in "Call of Duty" and the team's best work to date.

Treyarch and Activision are keeping a tight lid on the upcoming shooter, but they have shown off a number of settings, including the snowy mountains of Cold War Russia and Vietnam near the end of that war. Bunting said the game covers a broad span of time between the late '60s and early '70s.

"We haven't revealed all the locations in the game yet, but I can tell you that it does take you through a variety of locations around the world," he said.

Bunting added that "Call of Duty: Black Ops" will have gamers taking on the role of several characters over the course of the game.

"The story is all interwoven, so there's a much deeper character narrative going on in this story," he said. "When the game comes out, when you start seeing more information about it, you'll see that there is a large story arc going on with multiple characters involved and you have to follow each of these different character arcs to understand how they all play together."

That means a game more dependent on narrative and, perhaps, moral quandaries than early "Call of Duty" games set in World War II.

War gaming's shift in time and tone could be in part due to the United States' recent experiences with war. Video-game developers no longer have to look to history for relevant topics about conflict and warfare.

The latest "Medal of Honor" title, for instance, takes place in modern-day Afghanistan. And basing games on today's wars also makes them feel more relevant.

But they do run the danger of dealing with topics that have yet to be fully explored, or even understood.

Perhaps that, too, is part of the attraction.