Activision Formally Launches Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

During a live web event today, Activision formally unveiled the first Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 gameplay. The good news? They appear to be getting it right this time.

As a bit of background, I noted back in March that the Call of Duty franchise, despite its massive successes, was stuck in a bit of a rut: Attempts at creating new multi-game franchises have all failed since the heights of the Modern Warfare and Black Ops series. And the firm had been forced to plumb familiar territory, first with last year’s Call of Duty: WWII and now this year with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

But today’s gameplay reveal confirmed some rumored good news.

First, Black Ops 4 will not include a single player campaign. This is smart. As I’d written in the past, “multiplayer (and Zombies, which can be considered part of multiplayer) is where the real money is. And I don’t need Activision’s telemetry data to know that: Each year, with each COD title, Activision sells a massive additional package of downloadable content (DLC) that is comprised solely of multiplayer/Zombies, and usually in the form of new maps. There is never an update to the single-player campaign.”

Second, Activision is taking a second bit of my advice and capitalizing on the success of games like Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds: Black Ops 4 will include a “Battle Royale” mode called Blackout. As I’ve said in the past, those other games would just be game modes in a bigger COD title. And sure enough, it’s happening.

Third, Black Ops 4 is mostly abandoning the wall-running and jetpacks from its predecessor, and from games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Call of Duty: Infinite War, and it is returning to the “boots on the ground” gameplay style of older COD games, and of Call of Duty: WWII. In many ways, this games looks like WWII with more modern weaponry, which is frankly really welcome. (I thought the BO3 gameplay style was excellent, but many fans felt otherwise.)

There are other tweaks, too, of course. But whatever: In hitting on all the big bucket items that needed to be fixed, Activision should appease COD diehards (like me) and even attract new gamers too.

Now if they could just figure out the franchise thing. Because you just know that the 2019 COD title will be Modern Warfare 4.


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Conversation 16 comments

  • Stooks

    17 May, 2018 - 6:04 pm

    <p>I bought the recent one for the Xbox One X after not getting COD game since MW2. My mistake. The SP version of the game was good enough. The MP is still that tiny map, bunny hopping, sliding, foul mouth teenage twitch fest. It was quickly removed to free up space on my external Samsung T5.</p><p><br></p><p>I eagerly await the next BattleField game.</p>

    • irfaanwahid

      18 May, 2018 - 1:44 am

      <blockquote><a href="#276921"><em>In reply to Stooks:</em></a></blockquote><blockquote><em>I agree with you. I don't care so much about MP but SP. And Battlefield excels on this. After the superb B1, I wait for B-V.</em></blockquote>

      • Stooks

        18 May, 2018 - 9:38 am

        <blockquote><a href="#277024"><em>In reply to irfaanwahid:</em></a></blockquote><p>Yeah the rumor is the next Battlefield is going to be WWII, not my first choice but they will make it great. It will be embarrassing when every reviewer will make COD WWII comparisons. </p><p><br></p><p>Driving actual tanks and taking out buildings with player in them will bring a whole new levels of gaming in that era. Or dropping bombs from a plan you are actually piloting on that building.</p>

    • CrownSeven

      Premium Member
      18 May, 2018 - 10:52 am

      <blockquote><a href="#276921"><em>In reply to Stooks:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>You obviously don't have the game. First off the maps are not tiny. Second I have yet to join a match where someone is communicating using their mics – unless they are in a party. No one chats anymore in games.</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    17 May, 2018 - 6:20 pm

    <p>Wil be the first call of duty on PC I will skip. </p>

  • Awhispersecho

    Premium Member
    17 May, 2018 - 9:03 pm

    <p>Yup, no campaign means no purchase from me. I don't know why it's "good news" that they left out something you didn't care about. That just means that those of us that did care about it now have no reason to buy a game we were originally looking forward to. Even if only 10% of players play COD for the SP, that's a possible 10% decrease in sales. Seems like bad news for Activision. It's bad news for SP fans as well. But since it's what you agree with that makes it good news?</p><p><br></p><p> Shame. I really enjoyed BO3. Hopefully Battlefield won't alienate us SP fans and we can at least have that to look forward to. </p>

  • RM

    17 May, 2018 - 9:04 pm

    <p>Without a good single player and dual player (split screen) campaign I will never buy it. It doesn't matter if I am in the minority. When I want to play a game with one of my kids, I should not be required to fork out money for a second console. I will not do it. We will just play other games where we can play together. I hate playing games with people I don't know as we run around trying to do nothing<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;very well</span> together as a team of individuals. It is just a waste of time compared to playing with someone in the same room.</p>

  • Jester

    Premium Member
    17 May, 2018 - 9:42 pm

    <p>So cutting 1/3 of content mean 1/3 the price? </p>

    • chaad_losan

      21 May, 2018 - 8:08 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#276973"><em>In reply to Jester:</em></a></blockquote><p>But blackout! That's totally worth the 1/3 riiight?</p>

  • irfaanwahid

    18 May, 2018 - 1:42 am

    <p>Without a Campaign/Single player I am not buying this game. I still love my 5-6 hrs of story driven game plays before jumping into Multiplayer. I do care about games with good stories, that's what made franchises like Halo, Dishonored, small games like Brothers: tale of two sons and many others.</p>

  • spacein_vader

    Premium Member
    18 May, 2018 - 3:46 am

    <p>Makes it very clear that new COD = best bits of popular games last year. The wall running stuff was to counter the perceived threat of Titanfall, the WW2 stuff to counter BF1 and now CodBlops4 to counter plunkbat and Fortnite.</p><p><br></p><p>Wonder which game will become a breakout hit this autumn and form the basis of cod2019?</p>

  • Bart

    Premium Member
    18 May, 2018 - 5:31 am

    <p>This game should be a fair bit cheaper as it lacks a single player campaign. No doubt the peeps at Activision will feel differently….</p>

  • ibmthink

    18 May, 2018 - 8:37 am

    <p>What a horrible rip-off: Taking out the single-player campaign saves them a massive amount of development effort. Yet, this is still a full-price game.</p><p><br></p><p>They throw in a Battle Royal mode instead…which is cheap and easy to make. It is available for free in the form of Fortnite.</p><p><br></p><p>I also disagree that you can't make money on a Single-Player campaign: If you have a great campaign, you can make DLCs that continue the story of the campaign. Of course, this would require decent writing in the first place and requires a little bit more effort then just sticking in a random Zombie-Mode.</p><p><br></p><p>Disgusting game, really. Personifies many things that are wrong with todays gaming industry.</p>

  • winlonghorn

    18 May, 2018 - 9:03 am

    <p>So what about those of us that enjoy Single Player for the story and are very annoyed by multiplayer because people are people and decide not to let you play a decent round of a game because they think its funny? That is the biggest reason I have been so averse to multiplayer gaming! I could report them until I am blue in the face, but that won't change them continually trying to return and do the same thing! :)</p><p><br></p>

    • Elan Gabriel

      21 May, 2018 - 4:53 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#277101"><em>In reply to winlonghorn:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I'm with you, and as I find MP to be the same shallow gaming experience over and over again, I just don't play it. What about us ? Nothing, we'll just skip BLOPS4. it's not that the SP mode would've been writing at its best anyway. You could buy 4-5 indy games with story and emotion for the same price. It's a no brainer.</p>

  • Patrick3D

    18 May, 2018 - 10:15 am

    <p>I hope that with adding Battle Royale they are going to remove a bunch of older multiplayer modes to avoid splitting the user base too much. Especially with consoles, there simply are not enough players to support 8+ game modes. Narrow it down to 3+Zombies at most.</p>


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