‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ is real, and it’s out in October

This year’s entry in the Call of Duty series will indeed be Black Ops 4, Activision confirmed on Thursday, March 8.

The announcement, which promised more details at a “community reveal event” on May 17, was paired with a video showing off famous scenes from the previous three games. At the end of the teaser, it reads, “Forget what you know,” suggesting that the game might not bear much resemblance to the previous Black Ops games — this seems fitting, seeing as Black Ops and Black Ops III have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

The teaser also shows off a brief glimpse of zombies from the earlier games, meaning they’re almost guaranteed to appear in Black Ops 4.

According to both Eurogamer and Kotaku, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 — stylized by Activision as Black Ops IIII — will take place in the near future, just like the previous two entries in the series. Prior to that, the original Black Ops took place in the 1960s. The “fourth” Black Ops title would actually be the fifth game in Treyarch’s series, which began with 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War. That game and the first Black Ops featured the character Viktor Reznov, played by 2018 Oscar-winning actor Gary Oldman.

The rumor mill began swirling on Tuesday, March 6, after NBA star James Harden was spotted wearing what appeared to be a Black Ops-related hat. In place of the “III” symbol from the previous game, however, was a logo with four bars. Why Activision decided to use that logo instead of the number “4” or even the correct Roman numeral “IV” is anyone’s guess.

Given the popularity of the Black Ops games, it would have been weirder for Treyarch to not be developing another sequel. The real question mark will be Infinity Ward’s game in 2019, as Infinite Warfare underperformed at retail. Though the game’s campaign mode was ambitious and featured side missions not commonly seen in the Call of Duty series, its basic shooting mechanics felt strange and the multiplayer mode was an overcooked mess of ideas.

If rumors about the other major multiplayer shooter franchise, Battlefield, are true, the two series should have an easy time differentiating from each other this year. Electronic Arts’ series is reportedly going back to World War II with Battlefield V, and the publisher is tweaking its microtransaction system to avoid the same negative feedback given to last year’s Star Wars: Battlefront II.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will be out a little earlier than we expected. The game launches on October 12, though the first teaser didn’t specify platforms.

Updated on March 8: Added official confirmation from Activision and a teaser trailer.

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