In the end, Black Ops 4’s tagline of “forget what you know” has proven to be correct, and this year’s Call of Duty will be different from earlier entries in one major way.
So revealed Activision at an event in Los Angeles today, in which the US company showed off the multiplayer, zombies and an entirely new multiplayer mode for the Call of Duty series.
Those eager to see a continuation of James Mason’s adventures are likely in for a disappointment though, as the Call of Duty devs announced that this game will be shipping without a cinematic single player campaign. This surely is a radical departure for the series, as the campaign has been a staple of the franchise since the first Call of Duty hit shelves back in 2003.
But it seems Activision is planning to compensate Call of Duty fans in other ways, and while this year’s release will lack a campaign, Black Ops 4 will be shipping with a battle royale mode which developer Treyarch has called “Blackout”.
This will almost certainly play like the wildly popular Fortnite and PUBG games, although Treyarch insisted this battle royale mode will be done in the Call of Duty Black Ops-style, and will be played on their largest map to date (1,500 times larger than the earlier Nuketown map according to one of Treyarch’s devs at the event).
Of course, like in previous years this will feature the iconic zombies co-op mode many players are so fond of, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will ship with three different zombie scenarios. One of these takes place on a ship, while another appears to be set in ancient times, pitting you against hordes of zombies in what looks like a gladiatorial arena… During the presentation, Treyarch also teased a third zombie scenario / map, involving the same four characters featured in the other two.
And obviously developer Treyarch showed off this year’s traditional multiplayer modes. As was the case in Black Ops 3, specialist characters will feature in this year’s instalment. One such character is a recon specialist, which will let you see the position of enemies lying ahead, which is normally obscured by the “fog of war” (a new feature in the game).
Also, this year’s Call of Duty appears to feature more accurately modelled weapons and better gunplay, while healing will no longer be automatic and will have to be triggered by the player, therefore having more impact on the gameplay.
Also of note is the fact that the PC version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will run on Blizzard’s Battle.net service, as is the case with other high-profile multiplayer games like Destiny 2. At some point Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan (who’s Overwatch game director) is seen discussing some of the PC version’s features, including being able to communicate with Overwatch players, meaning perhaps Activision and Blizzard are planning some kind of crossover event here…
It remains to be seen, though, whether Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 can be as successful as earlier Call of Duty games, especially last year’s World War II game which was a return to form for the series after Activision took a misstep with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in 2016.
The lack of a campaign could be an issue here, as Black Ops 4 is unlikely to feel as complete as earlier games without a grand, cinematic campaign to back it up, although judging by this reveal it looks like the multiplayer side of the game will be as strong as ever, especially if the battle royale mode turns out to be as much fun as we are hoping it will be.
Either way, we’ll have to wait until fall to see if this new approach ends up being a success, but here’s hoping Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 still has plenty to offer despite the lack of a campaign when it ships this October.
Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII reveal livestream (Activision / YouTube)