Like your birthday and Tax Day, every year you can count on the release of a brand new Call of Duty game.
Just before the annual rush that is E3, Activision and Treyarch games hosted a community livestream event in Los Angeles which confirmed that this year’s release will be called Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (or IIII if you’re using the official style and hate shorthand Roman numerals).
The game will be released on October 12 on PS4, Xbox One and PC, all of which isn’t entirely surprising. What is surprising, though, is that this game will be making some changes to the Call of Duty formula that’s become so familiar over the past few years.
Here we’ve rounded up the five biggest changes you need to know about.
Single player is out
One of the most notable changes being made in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the removal of the single-player campaign. It’s a first for the franchise but it’s probably not a bad move given online multiplayer has long been the main draw of the Call of Duty franchise. While the cinematic single-player campaigns have offered players some unforgettable missions and experiences in previous games, we don’t think the series will suffer for losing them.
It was only last year when playing Call of Duty: WW2 that we at TechRadar felt the game’s main campaign, while stunning and cinematic, somewhat missed its emotional mark. It doesn’t feel like such a bad thing that the developers want to focus on telling stories in different ways.
Players who enjoy playing solo won’t be forced into endless multiplayer matches, though. Treyarch have said that solo missions will be integrated into the game’s multiplayer. These missions will apparently give players some deeper insight into the specialists that they’ll be able to choose from in the main multiplayer modes, offering a connection to the game world as well as a means of practising before tackling the faster pace and higher pressure of online multiplayer.
Battle Royale is in
It was long-rumored and now it’s been confirmed. Following the success of games like Fortnite and PUBG, Call of Duty will have a Battle Royale mode. Called Blackout, this game mode will feature a map that’s around 1500 times bigger than any Call of Duty multiplayer map that’s been seen before, with different sections being inspired by areas we’ve seen in previous games.
If you’re in any way familiar with Battle Royales you’ll know what to expect here – players are dropped into the map and must fight it out, solo or in squads, to be the last person standing. We haven’t seen any footage of the game mode so far, but it sounds like Treyarch is trying to make it everything you could hope a AAA battle royale would be.
Players will be able to use vehicles to traverse land, sea and air on the map, with ability to play as familiar characters from previous Black
Zombies is bigger than ever
Zombies has become a staple mode in the Call of Duty franchise but things are being given a freshen up. As much as you can freshen up the undead.
When the game launches, there will be three modes to choose from with four new characters and some brand new enemies. Each co-op mode has its very own map: ‘IX’, or Nine, will take players to a gladiatorial arena where it seems there will be a great deal of focus on melee combat; the next area, called Voyage of Despair, will take place on the Titanic; while Blood of the Dead is more of a throwback to fan favorite Mob of the Dead.
That’s a lot of new content from the off, but it’s also been hinted to GamesRadar that Zombies mode will grow and expand as time goes on with updates and events. It also seems that there’ll be difficulty modes and the ability to play alone by filling out the team with AI-controlled teammates.
A multiplayer mix up
There are some small but significant changes being made to multiplayer this time around. Treyarch will be keeping the ‘boots on the ground’ approach to movement that we saw applied in Call of Duty: WW2, so don’t expect any crazy wall-running or jetpacks like previous Black Ops titles have offered. Do, however, expect some new underwater gameplay.
Health generation has changed and could prove to be more challenging. Though players will now have 150 health points rather than 100, their health will no longer automatically regenerate when they catch a break from being shot at. Now they’ll have to manually regenerate their health using health packs and there’ll be a time delay after you’ve used one so you can’t use another straight away. This is intended to encourage more tactical play and it’s likely that it’ll change the pace of multiplayer gameplay.
The Pick 10 system from Black Ops III will be returning, but Treyarch has teased that it will be a little different this time around. Players will see a new category called Gear added, which will complement the new health regeneration system. In the gear system, players will be able to choose from a range of items which will include body armor for increased protection from shots and packs for faster health regeneration.
No more Steam
That’s right, no more Call of Duty on Steam. This time around, Activision will be making the PC version of the game available on Battle.net.
It sounds like Treyarch is making a big effort with the PC release, revealing that it’s planning for 4K and HDR support, an uncapped framerate, ultra-wide screen support and a range of customization options.
We’re not sure that actually necessitates Battle.net and the change is a bold one but we’re pretty sure the fact that the game will receive dedicated servers on the platform will make for a better online experience.