Yesterday, during the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 reveal event, developer Treyarch confirmed that the first-person shooter would have a battle royale game mode called Blackout. But although the studio was able to reveal several gameplay aspects about the mode, including its inclusion of named characters and a map that is 1,500 times bigger than Nuketown, the company didn’t confirm how many players Blackout would support.
Since the reveal of the mode, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 fans have been doing their own investigation into how many players Blackout will feature. One Twitter user counted all the dots on the overview of the Blackout map and estimated that there are 140 dots depicted overall, suggesting that the game mode will support 140 players. But the map in the trailer may have been a misnomer, as Treyarch itself says that it hasn’t settled on a number just yet.
In an interview with GameSpot, studio design director David Vonderhaar responded to a question about whether Blackout would feature up to 100 players like Fortnite Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Vonderhaar told the publication that “we haven’t actually decided yet,” adding that “We have to create the best experience, and to create that experience in a Call of Duty universe, you have to try various flavors of that until you find the right one.”
The #BlackOps4 BR mode #blackout COULD be 140 players. Watching the trailer you can see yellow dots become blue shield with skulls indicating an elimination. @charlieINTEL pic.twitter.com/K0l9sCM1px
— Brodie Cromar (@Brodizzleee) May 17, 2018
For some players, anything less than 100 players is a dealbreaker. Games like Fortnite Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have made their names because of their significant scale and the opportunity for incredible, emergent moments with that many players. Recently, for example, Fortnite was lauded for its 50 vs 50 game mode.
This scale is especially important given that the classic multiplayer experience in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is downsizing its player counts this year. Instead, of the six versus six player experience of the previous Call of Duty games, Black Ops 4 will set its standard game mode to five versus five. With multiplayer in this sense getting smaller, fans will want Blackout to be as big as possible.
But on the other hand, Treyarch will want to consider what is technically possible. Supporting 100 players in a game mode is some technical feat and the Fortnite and PUBG teams know well the difficulties of making an experience of this size (lag especially has been a problem). Treyarch will have to spend the time up to release to figure out how to balance the size demands from players with the technical demands to make that happen.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 releases October 12 for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.