Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the next title in Activision’s illustrious FPS series. It is set between the events of Black Ops 2 and 3, but marks a huge departure for Call of Duty in that it’s the first entry to not feature a traditional campaign. In its place is a battle royale mode called Blackout, which joins the core multiplayer and zombie mode to make it the most multiplayer-focused COD yet.
Owing to its setting, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 promises a return to a near-future where drone warfare is commonplace - not quite boots on the ground, but not space warfare either. Working on the 15th instalment in the main series, and the first with a story arc to make it past three games (four if you count World at War), developer Treyarch will have a tough job shrugging off any series weariness while still appealing to hardcore Call of Duty players.
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So, what can we expect from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 when it deploys on PC? Here is everything we know about Black Ops 4, from its release date and upcoming beta, to the gameplay and modes we want to see.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 release date
Activision is opting for an October launch for this year’s call of Duty, which is the first time they’ve done that since the release of COD 2, way back in 2005. The exact Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 release date is October 12, 2018.
That release date puts it two weeks ahead of Red Dead Redemption 2’s launch, which could be the reasoning behind Activision abandoning their traditional November COD release window. After so many years of annual releases landing without hindrance, it is also safe to assume the Black Ops 4 release date will not be delayed or pushed back.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 zombies
It looks as if Treyarch is significantly upping the ante for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 zombies with the promise of three maps at launch and heaps of features aimed at making this beloved mode even more replayable.
You can expect a new lineup of characters and a fresh storyline for Black Ops 4 zombies, too. New characters Scarlett, Shaw, Diego and Bruno will adventure across Ancient Rome in the IX map, not to mention the RMS Titanic in the Voyage of Despair map. The third map, Blood of the Dead is a remaster of the very popular Black Ops 2 map set on Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary and will feature the Primis crew.
Black Ops 4 zombies will also feature Custom Mutations, which will let you tweak certain variables on each map to change the experience up a little, such as changing the speed of zombies and overall difficulty. There will be over 100 custom variables and that you will be able to share your custom zombies map online.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout
Details regarding Call of Duty’s first attempt at a battle royale game mode remain scarce, but the trailer and community reveal have given us a good idea of what to expect. For starters, the Blackout map will be roughly 1,500 times the size of Nuketown, which puts it between 4.5km2 and 7.4km2 depending on whether you’re multiplying the playable area or the map’s total size. The trailer also confirms that Blackout will include Specialists and their abilities, as well as land and air vehicles ranging from Little Bird helicopters to ATVs and flatbed trucks.
One last tidbit of information: Blackout will feature characters and settings from throughout the Black Ops storyline. Exactly how all of those elements will work in a battle royale game is still unclear, so hopefully the next reveal from Activision will shine a light on this highly anticipated game mode.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 trailer
Following on from the community reveal event, there are a variety of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 trailers to pore over. We’ll start in the most sensible place, with a look at the multiplayer reveal trailer, which shows off plenty of smooth gunplay, Specialists, and new features like manual healing.
For a better look at the Specialists in particular then there’s the below trailer that offers a cinematic look at every character revealed so far. We already know that Specialists will have their own solo missions for players to play through, so perhaps these cinematics are torn from those scenarios.
Outside of the core multiplayer, there are also three Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 zombies trailers, one for each map. Below you can watch the trailer for the Roman-themed XI map, which kicks off the new zombies storyline.
Finally, there is a trailer for Blackout, the new battle royale mode. The trailer doesn’t appear to show off any in-game footage, but does offer some insight into the map, vehicles, and characters that will be available in Blackout - check it out below.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 PC
Treyarch is promising that special attention will be shown the Black Ops 4 PC version. For starters, Black Ops 4 PC will launch on Battle.net exclusively, which will include all of Battle.net’s social features and anti-cheat measures. Among the many features promised for the PC build are: scalability options, uncapped frame rate, dedicated servers, and support for 4K, HDR, and ultra widescreen monitors.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta
Beta testing has been a relatively new addition to the Call of Duty pre-release cycle, but we can expect a number of betas for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 commencing from roughly August onwards. The first beta for last year’s COD started two months before release, with the PC beta launching a month later, so expect a similar timeline for the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 gameplay
A number of new gameplay additions make Black Ops 4 one of the most competitive entries into the series. Manual healing, for example, forces you to take a couple of seconds out of combat in order to heal up, adding an element of risk and some decision-making to what used to be a background process. Unlike in previous Call of Duty games, you almost never lower your gun in Black Ops 4, which smoothes out the multiplayer experience even more by allowing you to mantle and use equipment while shooting.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 weapons also benefit from quality of life improvements like predictable recoil patterns and 3D bullet tracers, upping the skill cap for dedicated players who want to master every weapon and improve their situational awareness.
You will also be glad to discover that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will feature grounded combat, without the wallrunning and thrust boosters of Black Ops 3. You will still be able to kneeslide and climb over high ledges to help you get around the map, but expect a much more restrained movement system with the exception of Specialists like Ruin who can occasionally use a grapple fun to cover large distances in a flash.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Specialists return too, with eight of these characters having been officially detailed so far, not to mention two more Specialists whose abilities are still unknown. Specialists work a bit like hero characters in that they each have a couple of abilities that charge over time as well as some weapon attachments that are unique to them. You pick your Specialist between picking your class and starting a match, so they don’t affect Black Ops 4’s Pick Ten create-a-class system.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 mods
Mods have always been an important part of the PC community for Call of Duty games, so the news that Black Ops 4 would be launching on Blizzard’s Battle.Net platform caused a great deal of concern about the future of Black Ops 4 modding. Battle.Net is known for being a much less open platform than Steam, so many assumed modding would be off the table.
However, in a recent interview with GamerHubTV, Treyarch co-head Dan Bunting suggested that Black ops 4 mods were still a possibility. “Many of our developers we hired directly from the mod community because they built a mod - they got noticed. In Black Ops 3 we released mod tools for the first time in the franchise in many, many years. We are big believers and supporters in the mod community, but we’re not quite ready to start talking about that yet.” It’s not much to go on, but it sounds like the decision is not yet final.