Written By: Steve Vegvari
Call of Duty has become a franchise with deep roots in the blockbuster-esc campaigns and wildly competitive online multiplayer. Since the early days of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision and their collective development studios have worked tirelessly to create memorable experiences. Balancing spectacular stories with a multiplayer that rewards players who pour hours into it. All the while, carefully keeping tight-knit mechanics that have set the bar for first-person shooters.
This year, it seems that Activision and developers; Treyarch will be making big changes to the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Multiple sources have been leaking information that Black Ops 4 might be a more multiplayer focused game. Additionally, Treyarch could be looking at incorporating elements from some of the most popular shooters on the market. It is important to keep in mind that Activision has not confirmed nor denied these leaks. Regardless, there is a lot of speculation to be had before the in-depth reveal on May 17th.
When Activision officially revealed Black Ops 4 and the launch date of October 14th, it came to nobody’s surprise. Activision, along with any wise publisher want to keep far enough away from Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 so their title will not dip in sales. This marks the earliest launch of a premium Call of Duty title since 2005.
A calendar shift, of even a month is bound to create conflicts for developers. If the presumed leaks are correct, Treyarch would not have a completed single player experience ready for launch. Instead, it appears that the studio is doubling-down on evolving the multiplayer experience, which we’ll get into. This may not seem like a huge blow, as stats show that a good portion of the playerbase rarely completes the campaign. However, the single player was always a great way to test out new mechanics, different load-outs all while experiencing a well designed story.
It has also be reported that Black Ops 4 is taking a page from Overwatch, LawBreakers, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Last year’s WWII saw the addition of the War. The objective-based asymmetric mode was inspired from Overwatch’s successful Hybrid. Hybrid; while aptly named, combines the capture/defense mode of Assault, with the delivery of a payload from Escort.
It would seem that Treyarch might evolve the War mode even further given the information. More focus is likely to be placed on expanding War in order to pull competitive players in. On the other hand, Black Ops 4 may be utilizing the explanation of lore through multiplayer; similarly to Overwatch.
Treyarch looking at Lawbreakers is a odd notion. As Lawbreakers quickly had its time in the spotlight, the title did included some great mechanics. Lawbreakers was built on twitch-based shooter systems. High octane movements, tier-based maps and deeper ability system than we have seen in Call of Duty.
Black Ops 4 may see a shift into the traditional class system, and perhaps set on a “Hero” system. Not ones with ‘supers’ however, but likely with their own stats, load-outs and scorestreaks. Competitive players could see a possible nix of the deep class building, and instead have to find the soldier to their liking and invest time into mastering that particular “Hero”.
The biggest piece of information leaked is the suspected Battle Royale mode. To much contention, 2018 may have the biggest push for integrated Battle Royale modes. Battle Royale has quickly become the biggest competitive mode out there. It makes sense that Activision is smelling the money and looking to bring the mode to Call of Duty.
From the leaked information, Raven Software; the third party developers in charge of building War, have been tasked to creating a new mode. It is highly unlikely that Call of Duty will receive a Battle Royale mode featuring the 100 player count, given the time and resources. A more realistic number may be a count of 50 players. With more resources going into level design and visual aesthetics.
The fusion of Battle Royale and Call of Duty would prove to be quite promising. Building mechanics in Fortnite gave competitive players a new skill-set to master. Treyarch could reach into their suite of Call of Duty features and integrate them. It will be interesting to see if Black Ops 4 will keep it vanilla, with a emphasis on high quality level design, or put a spin on the game-mode. Bringing in additional features such as killstreaks will put their mark on the Battle Royale mode. It would also invite players to take an offensive approach into the match.
Call of Duty is likely to be getting many changes this year. Some more drastic than others. The changes would pave the way for new competitive play and should make for an interesting year. Call of Duty has long obtained the right to call itself the premier FPS franchise. Integration of new modes and styles can help improve competitive scene once Black Ops 4 arrives.
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Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His enthusiasm and adoration of the video game industry go back to the days of SNES. Find him on Twitter and join in on the escapades.