The inclusion of a Battle Royale mode in the upcoming Black Ops 4 came as no surprise given the unprecedented success of the genre this year, so detractors could view the move as little more than a rushed bolt-on feature to keep the Call of Duty franchise relevant. However, it seems that Treyarch has actually been developing the Blackout mode – at least at a conceptual level – since early last year, giving the studio plenty of time to create a polished iteration on the Battle Royale genre.
Black Ops 4, releasing on October 12th, arguably marks the biggest departure yet from the Call of Duty franchise in terms of its core content. There will be no single-player Campaign mode, with resources instead diverted to multiplayer, three maps for Zombies, narrative-driven missions for each of the Specialists in multiplayer, and Blackout, the series’ first Battle Royale mode.
The idea for Blackout, said Treyarch’s co-studio head Dan Bunting, started when many members of the team were playing Battle Royale games early last year. After noticing how quickly these games were “taking the world by storm,” the idea for Blackout began to formulate. Indeed, PLAYERUNKNOWN was quick to recognize the influence of his own game on the Blackout mode, taking to Twitter to welcome Call of Duty into the Battle Royale genre.
However, from the limited information we have on Blackout already, it seems the mode will feel sufficiently different from both other games in the Battle Royale genre, and from the traditional Call of Duty multiplayer experience. Unlike regular Call of Duty multiplayer, non-scorestreak vehicles will play a big part, allowing players to traverse the map by land, sea, and air. And, unlike other Battle Royale games, the number of players per game may well be under 100.
This latest news revealing that the upcoming Blackout mode has been in development for some time will come as a relief to anyone with concerns about the quality of Call of Duty‘s Battle Royale experience. The details are promising, but only time will tell if the decision to forego a single-player Campaign for Blackout pays off for Treyarch in the long run.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is set to release on October 12, 2018 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.