Treyarch co-studio head Dan Bunting told Eurogamer in a sitdown interview that they had never intended to make a traditional single-player campaign for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. The new game only has multiplayer modes and some training modes for those who don’t want to play online, but ultimately if you’re not into Battle Royale games or PvP multiplayer games, there’s nothing for you in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Bunting told Eurogamer…
“Going back to the very beginning of Black Ops 4 development, we never had set out to make a traditional campaign. We always started from the place of, we’re going to make something different with this game that was going to be inspired by how our community was interacting with Black Ops 3 and the games over the years. We see more and more players spending more time with multiplayer and zombies, not just in the game, but out of the game, streaming and talking about it in forums. It’s generated a really huge crowd response. The decision was, we wanted to make a different style of game this time.”
In non-PR speak, Bunting is explicitly saying that they looked over the data and it showed that multiplayer has the highest retention and engagement stats compared to single-player. They wanted to focus on building a game solely around multiplayer retention, especially with the popularity of the Battle Royale sub-genre captivating audiences in games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This meant axing the single-player campaign in Black Ops 4.
Ultimately, it was a decision based around greed, since the more you keep people playing multiplayer, the more loot boxes, skins, microtransactions and DLC you can sell to consumers.
Eurogamer actually seemed to have consumers in mind by asking the one question most core gamers would ask: What about people who don’t give a toss about multiplayer and enjoy the single-player and co-op campaign modes present in previous Call of Duty games?
Well, Bunting explained that those people are screwed. You either adapt to playing multiplayer or you go play Red Dead Redemption 2 if you want a single-player fix.
“I think change is always going to be hard for people. I would say to our fans, Treyarch has never let you down over the years. This is a studio you know is always going to deliver the best of the experiences you know and love, especially with the Black Ops series. We are delivering so much more of what players spend most of their time doing in our games in the series.
“From the multiplayer, with the way we are going much deeper into the validating new playstyles, so anybody can pick up the game and play it and feel like they can have fun, to zombies and having the biggest content delivery we’ve ever done in a game launch, to our brand new Blackout mode, which is inspired by the battle royale genre but done in our own unique way.”
Most fans asked the most logical question that didn’t get asked in the interview: “Why name it Black Ops then?”
The Call of Duty: Black Ops franchise is known for the compelling campaign stories, but this time around it’s just a smattering of multiplayer offerings. So why name it Black Ops 4 when there’s nothing presented to connect to the lore of the Black Ops franchise?
It’s a question that likely won’t be answered or will be answered with typical PR deflection and more attempts to upsale people on pre-order bonuses and more multiplayer schlock.
To make matters even worse is that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will be Battle.net, and we all know how draconian Blizzard is when it comes to user accounts on Battle.net. It basically means that your off-site activity will be monitored and you can be “actioned” for things that happen outside of Blizzard’s platform.