Friday's the big one, folks, so let's jump into the archives and see what Black Ops 4 is hiding under the hood.
It's the fourth numbered entry in Treyarch's celebrated series and the first Call of Duty game to ship without a traditional single-player campaign. The focus here is on multiplayer and the fan-favorite Zombies mode, but more on that later.
Here's the official word from Treyarch:
“Featuring gritty, grounded, fluid Multiplayer combat, the biggest Zombies offering ever with three full undead adventures at launch, and Blackout, where the universe of Black Ops comes to life in one massive battle royale experience.
“Black Ops Pass delivers the ultimate Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 experience. Whether you’re a Multiplayer fan or part of the Zombies community, the Black Ops Pass is packed with new, epic content for every game mode, enhancing your Call of Duty experience.”
Alas, there isn't one. And for good reason, according to Treyarch studio head Dan Bunting:
“Development is a journey. We try a lot of different ideas and a lot of different things. The game that we are making has evolved over time, and that’s just a part of development. I can’t remember a single game that we’ve made that hasn’t had a dramatic change in the prototyping stage.”
Like a buttery-smooth dream, if early impressions are any indication. The online beta test wasn’t without its faults, of course (more on that later), but overall, Black Ops 4 is every bit as polished and refined as its predecessors.
No, we're not kidding; Black Ops 4 really is tailored to the multiplayer crowd, with Dan Bunting, studio co-head at Treyarch, explaining:
“When we set out to make this game, we never started with the idea that we would make a traditional campaign. That was just not part of our plan. We started from a place that we were gonna make a game that across the board can be playable with friends. That’s been our mission from day one."
Those on the lookout for solo, narrative-driven experiences will be left wanting when it comes to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, but Treyarch has promised the return of online solo missions, which is, essentially, the game's way of telling a story without a campaign.
Expect new and returning Specialist characters to feature, too:
“These missions will be fun and fast-paced trials that give a hands-on introduction for these new and returning Specialists,” Dan Bunting, Treyarch's co-studio head, said.
Four heroes. Three maps (at launch). And more weapons that you can shake a Wunderwaffe at. Welcome to the Call of Duty Zombies Mode of 2018:
Scarlett Rhodes is out to solve her eccentric father’s mysterious disappearance. With the help of three loyal outcasts, she’ll fight waves of the undead and uncover a prized relic wielding an extraordinary power that threatens all of humanity.
It's become one of the prevailing gaming trends of 2018, and sure enough, Call of Duty is opening up its doors to battle royale.
As a game mode, Blackout contains all of the elements one would associate with battle royale–from the massive arenas to the survival gameplay.
But this time, there's a Call of Duty twist:
"In Blackout, Black Ops comes to life in one massive battle royale experience, combining Black Ops signature combat and the biggest map in Call of Duty history. Play as fan-favorite characters and battle through iconic settings from the Black Ops universe. It’s a collision course bringing together the worlds of Black Ops in an all-out survival and elimination experience featuring weapons; equipment; land, sea, and air vehicles; RC-XDs; traps; and even Zombies in an experience that is uniquely Black Ops."
To make matters more interesting, Blackout touts a slew of fan-favorite arenas like Firing Squad, Nuketown and Asylum, all cobbled together under one umbrella.
It's a free-for-all, so let's get ready to rumble.
On a more general note, Black Ops 4 will feature a total of 14 maps at launch, with series staple Nuketown coming in November.
The Black Ops Pass has been hailed as a “new approach to post-launch content,” according to Treyarch devs, and is included within both the Enhanced Edition and the Digital Deluxe Edition.
Via Treyarch, the Black Ops pass signals “a new approach to post-launch content for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, including a robust live season for the community. Instead of having four separate content drops, Black Ops 4 fans will experience a more frequent cadence to keep things fresh and deliver new maps and content more regularly throughout the year.”
Speaking of content, PlayStation 4 players will get to play new content first on PS4 by seven days. This means all the playable content coming to the Black Ops universe following launch will land seven days early on PS4, including new specialists and maps, as well as seasonal events. After seven days, all new playable content will come to other platforms.
Based on a listing over on the Microsoft Store, the digital version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will clock in at approximately 42.64GB.
Our own Chandler Wood took Black Ops 4 out for a test drive last month, and walked away overly impressed, writing:
"The Call of Duty brand is where Blackout’s real strength lies. It looks like Call of Duty. It plays like Call of Duty. But it’s a massive battle royale mode that jumps on gaming’s latest trend, doing it better because it has a longtime Treyarch history to support it. This is what it looks like when a AAA developer makes a battle royale game that is part of a larger paid package, rather than relying on the free-to-play model to generate income."
Treyarch has been pretty proactive during the development of Black Ops 4, and even responded to some of the concerns raised during last month's online beta test.
Otherwise known (unofficially) as the premium, ultimate, in-your-face edition, the official Mystery Box version of Black Ops 4 comes packing the following:
If you're looking for a little more bang for your buck, the Black Ops 4 Pro Edition bundles together...
And now, the Digital Deluxe Enhanced Edition, for those curious...
You don't have to search too far to find a high-street retailer promoting its own exclusive bonus content for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, but this GameStop perk is still pretty cool–so long as you preorder before October 12.
No, you read that right; the day one patch for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a hefty one, weighing in at around 50GB on PlayStation 4.
"Before playing for the first time, players will need to download and install a day one update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. This update must be installed completely in order to access Multiplayer, Zombies, and Specialist Headquarters. Blackout is fully playable once installation is about 30% complete (approximately 16-20 GB).
"For an optimized download experience, players should have 112 GB of free hard drive space—note that this is not the size of the download, it is the amount of space required to complete the installation process. The final installation footprint will be approximately 55 GB. In order to play Blackout before the full installation is complete, select “Update to Latest Version” when the prompt appears.
"The day one update package is roughly 50 GB. Download speeds may vary based on region, platform, connection type, and the speed of your internet connection."
Chandler Wood will be handling the PSLS review of Black Ops 4, so keep your peepers peeled. And remember, stay frosty.