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The History Of Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Black Ops is Call of Duty's longest running and most interesting sub-series. From multiplayer, to zombies, to the numbers, each Black Ops game brings something different to the table. This year's Black Ops 4 is no exception by trading in a campaign for its own take on Battle Royale genre, Blackout. So before the game comes out, let's take a look back at this fan favorite series.

In preparation for the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Jean-Luc has prepared a "History Of…" for the Black Ops series. In the video above, he covers the series' highlights since its 2010 debut.

Every Call of Duty: Black Ops game has been developed by Treyarch, which also worked on 2005's Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, 2006's Call of Duty 3, and 2008's Call of Duty: World at War. The original Call of Duty: Black Ops took place during the Cold War in the 1960s, putting you in the boots of two CIA operatives: Alex Mason and Frank Woods. 2012's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 moved the series into the near future, following Alex's son David Mason in 2025, while also flashing back to the 1980s to continue Alex and Frank's story. 2015's Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 solidified the series' foothold in the future by following operatives in 2065. 2018's Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 maintains the series' late 21st century setting.

Each Black Ops game has influenced the franchise in its own way. Black Ops was the first main series game to feature playable protagonists that speak during gameplay, as opposed to solely talking during cutscenes. Black Ops 2 introduced two new variations--titled Grief and Turned--to Call of Duty's popular Zombies mode. Activision and PlayStation formed a partnership just prior to the release of Black Ops 3, marking it as the first Call of Duty game where post-launch DLC was released on Sony's hardware first before eventually making its way to Xbox and PC as well. Black Ops 4 introduces Blackout to Call of Duty, the franchise's first battle royale game mode.

Even if the game isn't out yet, we've been enjoying Black Ops 4. The game's first beta let us try Black Ops 4's 10 operators, as well as the game's new gadgets, weapons, and Heist mode. In the second beta, we played on Call of Duty's biggest map to date in massive battle royale matches. We learned six new things about Blackout while playing and enjoyed how Treyarch has structured Call of Duty's new mode to fit perfectly between what Fortnite: Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds offer.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 releases on October 12 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Check out our pre-order guide if you're interested in picking up the game at launch. If you buy Black Ops 4 on PS4, you'll get early access to the game's DLC, but the exclusivity window is much shorter this time around in comparison to previous Call of Duty titles.

Every past Black Ops title has sold well and been met with critical approval. In our Call of Duty: Black Ops review, Chris Watters gave the game a 9/10, writing, "While it may not take the signature Call of Duty action to dizzying new heights, Black Ops is a thoroughly excellent game." In our Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 review, Watters gave the game an 8/10, writing, "Though zombies mode is stagnating, the rest of Black Ops 2 is lively, and it's great to see some shifting in the familiar structure." In our Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 review, Mike Mahardy gave the game a 7/10, writing, "In its undead modes, and the first 10 hours of multiplayer, [Black Ops 3] excels. But in its campaign, it merely crawls forward."