This fall’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will essentially be multiplayer-only, lacking the kind of single-player campaign that has been a key component of the annual series for over a decade, two sources familiar with the game tell Kotaku, corroborating a report published earlier today at Polygon.
One of those sources also echoed a report from top Call of Duty information-broker Charlie Intel saying that the new game will have a battle royale mode. That’s the kind of last-player-standing mode that’s been taking over gaming for the past year, what with the success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite: Battle Royale and myriad competitors. So far, no big-budget game studio has added a Battle Royale mode to a big franchise series, but it has seemed like only a matter of time before it hits a Call of Duty or a Battlefield, a Division or a Destiny.
Details are murky, and Call of Duty publisher Activision isn’t talking. “We don’t comment on rumor and speculation,” it responded via email to Kotaku today. Recent Call of Duty games have been bursting with modes, including the increasingly the increasingly elaborate Zombies modes pioneered by Black Ops 4's lead studio Treyarch. Black Ops 3 already offered two-player co-op in that game’s campaign.
According to Polygon, as the multi-year development cycle of Black Ops 4 moved toward the game’s October release date, “it became evident that development on the single-player campaign wouldn’t be completed.”
Activision has shown some recent interest in re-jiggering the content offered for its Call of Duty games. Two years ago, it offered a remaster of the classic Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to PlayStation owners alongside the release of that year’s big CoD, offering it as a standalone purchase many months later. The most recent game in the series, Call of Duty: WWII, saw a drop in the number of multiplayer maps offered at the game’s launch. Given the buzz Call of Duty games get for their multiplayer, it’s been common for gaming pundits to speculate about if or when Activision would drop campaigns from the games.
Activision will officially reveal more details about the new Black Ops during an event on May 17. It’s slated for release on October 12 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.
UPDATE - 8:13pm: Added the word “essentially” to the lede in reference to the new game being “multiplayer-only”, as readers correctly pointed out that past zombie modes, while promoted for co-op have supported solo play. That’s actually how I’ve primarily played them, too and we don’t have any indication that a solo option would be dropped from zombies mode in the new game.
Reporting for this story by an allegedly on-vacation Jason Schreier, who is currently learning the French words for press and sneak.