The most vital pieces of info on Treyarch’s upcoming shooter.
Call of Duty might be skipping its single player campaign entirely this year with Black Ops 4, but credit needs to be given where credit is due- from everything that we’ve seen of it thus far, Treyarch’s latest looks like its benefitting from the single-minded focus the studio is devoting to the game’s multiplayer side of things, with a mix of old and new ideas that, at least so far, seem to be working really well together. In anticipation of the game’s looming launch, here in this feature we’re going to take a look at fifteen vital pieces of information that we have on Black Ops 4. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
MULTIPLAYER PLAY STYLE
While the Call of Duty series had been going faster and more high-concept sci-fi with each progressive instalment for a few years, last year’s WW2 slowed things down considerably, with a decidedly more grounded approach, and while Black Ops 4 won’t be quite as boots to the ground – it will still feature that same brand of slick and stylish movement – it is going to be a lot more strategic. Treyarch have stated that online multiplayer gameplay in the upcoming shooter is going to be a lot more tactical, and will inherently encourage players to work together in teams. It should be interesting to see whether that actually ends up happening.
Customization is going to be a huge focus in Black Ops 4, as is usually the case in Call of Duty games. For example, the Pick 10 Create a Class system is making a return, which inherently adds much deeper personalization to the game, while each weapon will have something called “Operator Mods”, which will allow players to customize their weapons as they see fit. Additionally, weapon attachments will now also be ranked by tiers, with attachments belonging to a higher tier obviously having a larger impact on stats of weapons and how they perform, which should, in theory, add yet another layer of customizability.
Black Ops 4 will feature Specialist characters, unique soldiers that you can play as, each with their unique skills and abilities. Of the ten Specialists that the game launches with, six – Seraph, Firebreak, Nomad, Ruin, Battery, and Prophet – will be returning characters, while four will be new ones. These will be Crash (a support unit with healing and ammo replenishing abilities), Ajax (armed with a 9-bang grenade and a ballistic shield), Torque (who can place hazards such as razor wires and barricades with microwave fields), and Recon (who can use Vision Pulse and has a Sensor Dart to reveal locations of nearby enemies on the map).
Each of the ten Specialists will also have dedicated Specialists Missions, which will be skill-based narrative-focused solo missions that each focus on the backstory of a single character. For those of you who’ll really be craving single player content, in the absence of a campaign, these missions might prove to be the next best thing, while the prospect of Treyarch adding new content as time goes on is also quite exciting.
According to Treyarch, Blackout, the battle royale mode in Black Ops 4, has the largest map in the history of the franchise- and you better believe it. It’s pretty damn big- you can’t really have a proper battle royale match in a map that isn’t large, right? Blackout’s map will club together various maps from previous Treyarch games. Nuketown is in there as Nuketown Island, while Verruckt makes it in too, called Asylum. There’s also Array, Cargo (called Cargo Docks here), Rivertown, Hydro Dam, Turbine, and a lot, lot more.
BLACKOUT PLAYER COUNT
But of course, the size of a map in any battle royale game is something that is intrinsically tied to that game’s player count per match- it’s a fine balance that the two need to achieve together. While Black Ops 4’s Blackout started its open beta with a player count of 80, that was soon increased to 88, which is where the numbers stands right now. That said, Treyarch have said pretty explicitly that this is by no means a final figure, and that depending on the feedback they receive and their own data post-launch, they might end up changing that number to be able to strike the right balance- it could go up, it could go down.
Perks are, of course, pretty much synonymous with any Call of Duty experience right now, and while Blackout differs from your regular Call of Duty multiplayer modes quite significantly, it’s still going to have perks. These, however, will seemingly function a bit differently in Blackout from what players might be used to. While in Call of Duty’s traditional competitive multiplayer modes perks act as permanent upgrades, in Blackout, these will be consumables that give players temporary boosts and buffs. For instance, where the Stimulant perk increases your HP by 100,Dead Silence reduces the sound your footsteps make, while Outlander will reduce the damage you take from the shrinking circle on the map.
VEHICLES IN BLACKOUT
Vehicles are going to be a big deal in Blackout, and Treyarch have confirmed that they’re trying to make them as balanced and as fun to use as possible. A few vehicles have already been confirmed for the mode so far, which includes one aerial vehicle in the form of a helicopter, one naval vehicle in the form of a boat, and two ground vehicles- one ATV and one cargo truck. Of course, we can also expect – hopefully, at least – Treyarch to add more vehicles to the mode as time goes on.
BLACKOUT- PLAYABLE CHARACTERS
Blackout will also feature a number of playable characters, and players can choose to play as any one of these characters, which is surely something fans of the series will appreciate far more than a layperson- but it’s a cool touch. Characters such as Zombies’ Primis crew, Raul Menendez, and Alex Mason, are all going to be included in the mode.
ZOMBIES IN BLACKOUT
What’s really interesting, though, is the zombies are going to be part of Blackout as well, and won’t just be exclusive to the Zombies mode. They will be restricted to certain sections of the Blackout map, such as Verruckt. For instance, zombies might be guarding some particularly strong gear, which players will only be able to get to after killing the zombies, which in turn will attract the attention of any other players in the vicinity. It seems like this might provide unique and interesting PvE elements that might help set Blackout apart from all its competitors.
ZOMBIES- CHAOS STORYLINE
Speaking of Zombies, the trademark Zombies mode that Treyarch first introduced in Call of Duty: World at War back in 2008 is going to return, and is going to be more packed than ever, with a total of two storylines this time around. The maps Voyage of Despair and IX will form a new Zombies storyline called “Chaos”. Chaos, additionally, will feature a cast of four new characters: Diego, Scarlett, Bruno, and Shaw.
ZOMBIES- AETHER STORYLINE
Meanwhile, it’s not all about the new storyline in the Zombies mode. The “Aether” storyline is also making a comeback, with the maps Blood of the Dead and Classified. Nikolai, Dempsey, Richtofen, and Takeo (collectively known as Primis) will be returning as central characters, as you may have expected.
Zombies mode will also allow for greater customization options for players, such as allowing custom loadouts for weapons and perks in every match, a feature that, as you might remember, was also included in the Zombies mode in last year’s Call of Duty: WW2. Players will also be able to customize the rulesets of Zombies matches, with upto 100 customizable variables, including the speed, health, and other defining stats of zombies. Of course, Black Ops 4 will also receive continuously updated timed events in Zombies mode.
BLACK OPS PASS
One of the most controversial things that Activision has done with Black Ops 4, barring the exclusion of a single player campaign, of course, is its season pass. Costing $40 on top of the base game’s purchase, the Black Ops Pass will give players access to plenty of new content post-launch, including 4 characters that will be exclusive to Blackout, 12 new multiplayer maps, as well as 4 new Zombies “experiences”. None of these, bafflingly enough, can be purchased individually- if you want one, you have to buy them all. Thankfully, it does look like there will be free updates to the game, especially the Blackout mode, post-launch as well, in the form of expansions and changes to the map, timed events, and more.
XBOX ONE X AND PS4 PRO ENHANCED
Most AAA releases these days have support for Sony’s and Microsoft’s more powerful enhanced consoles, the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X respectively. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is, of course, as AAA as AAA can get, so it’s no surprise that it will also be enhanced for the two system upgrades. On both the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, the upcoming first person shooter will run at 4K resolutions, while the game will also have HDR support enabled on both systems.