Viral marketing campaigns are nothing new for Call of Duty. The recent Call of Duty Black Ops 4…sorry, I mean Black Ops IIII “leak” has many wondering how James Harden would have even gotten his hands on the hat, let alone be allowed to wear it where it could be photographed publicly. The only logical answer is that it was provided to him by Activision. Mashable points out that this isn’t the first time Activision has used celebrity clothing to tease a Call of Duty game. A Black Ops III shirt was photographed being worn by singer Cody Simpson and Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert before that game was officially announced.
With Call of Duty being released every year like clockwork, and even fans knowing which studio is next in line, it makes sense that Activision would find some interesting ways to drum up hype and conversation outside of the traditional game announcement. “Leaking” clothing featuring obvious branding to celebrities and then having them wear it for seemingly innocent photos is just such a way, as evidenced by the conversation that has been happening due to James Harden’s Black Ops IIII hat. Though, to be fair, a lot of that conversation also surrounds the fact that we now have to use four keystrokes to type out a Roman Numeral that’s not even correct, when a simple 4 or IV ought to suffice.
What we should also be paying attention to is the recent Black Ops III update that came out of nowhere last week. Activision and Treyarch have pulled this move before too. Just before the Black Ops III announcement, Black Ops II was spontaneously updated to have Snapchat QR codes in some of the multiplayer maps. Those QR codes were the start of a viral marketing campaign that was spread across various social platforms. Chances are pretty high that this recent random update hides some secret hints about Call of Duty Black Ops IIII.
If the Black Ops IIII Easter eggs are hiding anywhere, it’s likely they are in the new snowy version of the Redwood map (aptly named Redwood Snow) that was added with the update. Keen eyed Reddit users noticed that the license plates on the trucks are now different in that map, corresponding to the date that David Mason joined the military. If you want to dive into that rabbit hole of theories, you can view the full Reddit thread here. They also note that the update included some change to the campaign, but nobody has discovered any additional details yet.
If you just want to wait for Activision to put out the official word on Call of Duty Black Ops IIII, we’ll probably hear from them within the next few weeks.