Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is out now, and it continues the franchise's history of explosive multiplayer, first-person shooter combat. Old mechanics and features return, such as the fan favorite Zombie mode, but the game implements several changes to the Black Ops formula. We've compiled everything we know about Black Ops 4 below.
Black Ops has a pretty lengthy history. The first Black Ops, releasing in 2010, takes place during the Cold War in the 1960s, switching between CIA operatives Alex Mason and Frank Woods. 2012's Black Ops 2 moved the story to 2025 and follows Alex's son, David Mason. 2015's Black Ops 3 continues the previous game's journey into the future and focuses on operatives in 2065.
The first Black Ops featured the first playable protagonists in a Call of Duty game to speak during gameplay, and not just cutscenes. Its sequel introduced the Grief and Turned variations to Call of Duty's Zombies mode. The third game was the first Call of Duty title where Activision and Sony's partnership created limited-time exclusive DLC content for PlayStation consoles.
What Is Black Ops 4?
Black Ops 4 is the seventh Call of Duty game developed by Treyarch, one of the many video game companies under the Activision umbrella. The game is the first Call of Duty title to lack a traditional single-player campaign, instead including individual missions that each focus on the backstory of one of Black Ops 4's multiplayer Specialists. The feature is similar to the Operator missions from Rainbow Six Siege, but are more story-driven and tie together in an overarching plot. The missions take place between 2025 and 2065, making Black Ops 4 a sequel story to Black Ops 2 and a prequel to Black Ops 3.
Release Date/Day One Update/Preloading
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 launched on October 12 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The game has a fairly large Day One update, so be sure your system of choice has enough hard drive space. The game comes with special Deluxe, Digital Deluxe, Pro, and Mystery Box Editions, all of which are detailed in our buying guide.
After spending time with the game following its launch, we've published our full Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review. In it, GameSpot reviews editor Kallie Plagge offers a look at each of the three main modes, writing, "Black Ops 4 isn't short on content, and its three main modes are substantial. Multiplayer introduces more tactical mechanics without forcing you into them, and it largely strikes a good balance. Zombies has multiple deep, secret-filled maps to explore, though its returning characters don't hold up and prove distracting. Finally, Blackout pushes Call of Duty in an entirely new direction, making use of aspects from both multiplayer and Zombies for a take on the battle royale genre that stands on its own. Sure, there isn't a traditional single-player campaign, but with the depth and breadth of what is there, Black Ops 4 doesn't need it."
Black Ops 4 includes a lot of features and mechanics that might be familiar to an experience Call of Duty player, but completely foreign to franchise newcomers. If you need any assistance, turn to one of our Black Ops 4 guides, which should provide you with all the help you need to get started with multiplayer, Zombies, and Blackout.
- Blackout - 11 Useful Tips You Should Know Before Starting
- Blackout - Tips That Battle Royale First-Timers Need To Know
- Blackout - How To Unlock All The Characters So Far
- Zombies - Voyage Of Despair Starter Tips
Multiplayer, Maps, And Specialists
For the first time in a Call of Duty game, Black Ops 4 ditches health regeneration. Firearms employ both hitscan and projectile damage, instead of just the former in the game's new ballistics system. Predictive recoil patterns and weapon customization return. Together, it makes for a more tactical experience that promotes teammates working together instead of playing as a lone wolf. Several classic Call of Duty modes--including Zombies--return in Black Ops 4, but the game also features the series' first battle royale mode, called Blackout.
Black Ops 4 launches with 14 multiplayer maps--Frequency, Contraband, Seaside, Payload, Hacienda, Gridlock, Arsenal, Icebreaker, Morocco, Militia, Jungle, Slums, Firing Range, and Summit. In November, the Call of Duty classic map Nuketown will launch for free, making a total of 15 maps in the Black Ops 4 base game. More maps will launch later as paid post-launch DLC.
Just like its predecessor, Black Ops 4 will feature Specialists in multiplayer. Each Specialist has their own unique loadout and is designed to handle specific tasks. There are 10 in Black Ops 4, six of which--Ruin, Prophet, Battery, Seraph, Nomad, and Firebreak--return from Black Ops 3. The other four--Recon, Ajax, Torque, and Crash--are completely new to the series.
Blackout incorporates all the hallmarks of previous battle royale games. Up to 100 players drop onto a map and have to battle it out until only one player or team remains. Weapons and equipment can be scavenged from buildings, and vehicles can be found on the road and used to cross the map more quickly. The safe areas where players can survive gradually shrinks over time, forcing the survivors closer together into more hectic firefights. The mode can be played solo, or in squads.
Blackout is a little different from games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite. For one, the map in Blackout is fairly large and encompasses a wide variety of different terrains and landscapes instead of focusing on a single theme, like a forest or desert. Blackout is the largest battlefield seen in any of the Call of Duty games, incorporating numerous landmarks and Easter eggs from past titles. There's also a slight PvE element to Blackout, as computer-controlled zombies wander around certain areas of the map. Killing them lets you earn special loot items from Call of Duty's Zombie mode, like the Ray Gun and Cymbal Monkey.
The cooperative Zombies mode returns in Black Ops 4, but this time it features two separate storylines for you to play. The first, titled Aether, follows the reestablished Zombies storyline from the first three Black Ops games. The second, called Chaos, features new characters--Scarlett, Stanton, Diego and Bruno.
Exclusive PS4 Content
Like the Call of Duty titles in recent years, Black Ops 4 will have content that's exclusive to the PS4 for a limited time. This exclusivity period includes all seasonal events, new Specialists, and post-launch multiplayer maps. However, instead of the PS4 having a two-to-four week head start on the other system, the console will only have exclusive access to post-launch content a week early.