‘Black Ops 4’ will have battle royale, but ditches the single-player campaign

Today, Activision and Treyarch revealed Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, a multiplayer-focused shooter that features bits and pieces of previous Black Ops games. Along with traditional multiplayer and zombies, the game will include its own take on the battle royale mode popularized by Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite. It will also be the first Call of Duty game to ditch the campaign.

Competitive multi-player

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is set in a “narrative world” between the events of Black Ops II and Black Ops III, and Treyarch aims to tell its story throughout all three main modes. Rather than include a traditional linear campaign, you’ll be able to play as the game’s various “specialists” — each with their own unique abilities — in solo missions, where you’ll be introduced to their tools and learn their backstory. Their tools can set enemy players ablaze, protect an area with razor wire, or give health to nearby teammates.

The meat of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 remains its multiplayer, and it has undergone several changes. No longer will there be automatically recharging health — instead, you must use a dedicated button, taking yourself briefly out of the fight.

The “guns still up” concept from past Black Ops titles returns in Black Ops 4, with your character able to keep shooting while mantling over ledges, throwing grenades, or using score-streaks, and a return to “boots on the ground” combat means there will be no more thrust-jumping or wall running. A new feature called “fog of war” also limits your ability to see too far around your own position on the mini-map, though certain abilities can still extend the radius.

Hints were made about how the game will evolve over time, but the main competitive multi-player mode is a familiar one. It includes most of the trapping you’d expect from Black Ops including tight maps, quick kills, insane gadgets, and gun customization. That latter point seems one of particular pride, as the developers highlighted the wide variety of functional and cosmetic changes players will be able to make.

Zombies crawl back, with more story

For more direct storytelling, you’ll have to check out the zombies mode. It’s among the most robust the series has ever seen, with three drastically different experiences available at launch. The first, “Nine,” appears to take place in the distant past, and sees a group of heroes forced to use archaic melee weapons to deal with a zombie threat set loose by a malicious and mysterious organization.

“Voyage of Despair,” meanwhile, takes place on the Titanic and appears to feature the same playable characters, and “Blood of the Dead” references the “Aether” from Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

All these experiences are loosely connected. The four characters are the same in each map, traveling through time through a ritual depicted in the Zombies mode introduction trailer. It appears that each episode will have its own objectives and primary threat, and weapons will vary based on the time period. There’s no sign of the gun customization shown in the primary multi-player mode. Character customization will be offered instead, though few details about that were given on-stage.

Treyarch is hoping to get newer players on board with its zombies mode this year, and the new “zombie rush” mode is designed to offer a simpler experience that anyone can enjoy. A tutorial will also be included. The game experience will have multiple difficulties and customization options, with the developer intending to offer challenge to players of every skill level.

Blackout is Call of Duty’s battle royale

Last, but not least, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 does include a battle royale mode. Dubbed “Blackout,” the mode is played on a map made up of key segments from past Black Ops games. You’ll be able to play as your favorite characters and use your favorite weapons from the campaign and zombie modes. The map is over 1,500 times larger than “Nuketown” from the first Black Ops, and the mode will feature vehicular action on land, in the sea, and in the air.

That’s about all we know, though. No gameplay trailer was shown, so the specifics of how Blackout works are a mystery.

And it’s coming to Battle.net

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is out October 12 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The PC version is receiving special treatment this year from Beenox, with support for ultra-wide monitors and an uncapped framerate. And, for the first time ever, it will be available on Blizzard’s Battle.net service, following in the footsteps of Destiny 2.

Product Review

Anthem shows a glimmer of brilliance that's quickly dampened by its grind

Anthem is an online shooter from BioWare that’s already proven to have a stunning open-world with action-packed combat that distinguishes itself with its story, characters, and lore. But will it continue to invest in those things as we…

Activision not doing itself any favors with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 loot boxes

New loot boxes added to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 have caused a somewhat uneven playing field for those who choose to spend extra money. Certain limited-time items can now only be found in loot boxes.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.

Here's what you need to play games and watch movies in 4K on your PC

4K display tech is now cheaper than ever, but there's more to running stuff at such a high display resolution than just handing over the dough for a 4K-equipped display. Here's what you need to run 4K.

Logitech’s G MX518 gaming mouse pairs classic looks with all-new tech

Logitech is relaunching one of its most popular classic gaming mice, the MX518. Now called the G MX518, it sports upgraded internals that give it a 16,000 DPI optical sensor and new and improved memory.

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.

One game console is better than the rest, and we're not afraid to say it

We've seen a relatively large influx of new consoles in the last year, including the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One X, so we've updated our recommendations for the best dedicated game hardware.

Everything we know about Devil May Cry 5, including characters and combat

Devil May Cry 5 is just around the corner, and is the first game in the original series since Devil May Cry 4 in 2008. Here is everything we know about the game, including its playable characters.

Apex Legends adds its first new gun, the Havoc energy rifle

Respawn added the first piece of new content to Apex Legends, the Havoc energy rifle. It's available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC players. The fully automatic rifle can be modded to shoot single-shot energy beams.

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.

Did Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown fall victim to the Madden Curse?

Join us as we take a tour through the long-running history of the Madden Curse -- and Tom Brady's recent accolades. We all know John Madden is a longtime NFL talent, but is he also an agent of dark forces?