The Call of Duty series has been around for 15 years, since its debut in October 2003, and since then, the publisher Activision has released new chapters annually, most of which was a resounding success. To serve the series, three studios run the games in a three-year production cycle, creating subseries in different environments: original production company Infinity Ward is in charge of Modern Warfare; Sledgehammer Games has made disparate titles, alternating between World War II and futuristic stages. Finally, Treyarch, who has the guardianship of Black Ops. And this year is exactly your responsibility to launch the fourth game of this subseries.
Black Ops 4, which hits stores today marks the end of the series' paradigm by eliminating one of its main pillars, the narrative campaign, focusing exclusively on a multiplayer online experience. The famous Zombies mode is still present, as are skirmishes among players in various formats. However, all the attention is focused on Blackout, the pillar that replaces the weight of the narrative in the series, and is nothing more than a format of Battle Royale, a genre increasingly popular thanks to the success of Fortnite and Playerunknown's Battleground (PUBG).
The radical changes are undoubtedly a risk, because over the course of these 15 years, the series has come in different chapters to be considered the biggest launch of an entertainment product of the year, surpassing any musical album or Hollywood blockbuster. To get an idea, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, the previous Treyarch title, earned 550 million in sales in the first 72 hours in 2015; and Black Ops 2 needed only 24 hours to reach the 500 million mark in 2012.
The closest of a narrative that players will be able to experience is the Zombies mode (which celebrates its tenth anniversary since its debut in the first Black Ops), where up to four players leave on an adventure with time jumps. The protagonist is Scarlett Rhodes who seeks to solve the mystery of the disappearance of her father, allied to a relic with special powers, but that can condemn humanity. This mode offers three chapters initially, but others will be added throughout the year through DLC.
With the attention focused on Blackout, the feedback from the players during their beta phase was very positive. In addition to all the gameplay typical of the series, the simple and accessible mechanics stood out, contrary to the long line of learning of the main references PUBG and Fortnite. This mode brings together the well-known Blacko Ops characters on a gigantic map, inspired by various scenarios set in earlier chapters of the series.
The third pillar of Black Ops 4 remains the competitive multiplayer, offering several modes, either to face solo opponents or to fight in teams. Specialists are back – characters with weapons and special abilities, which can be freely characterized by players. There is a major shift in how players regain energy, removing the automatic healing system, using medical kits, and introducing new strategic approaches to action. Hardpoint, Domination and Control modes are back to play as a team.
It is certain that the series is in decadence, but still the numbers are astronomical. According to Statista, of all Call of Duty series products released in their 15 years, the three games of the Black Ops subsite are among the top five. The first, launched in 2010 sold 30.4 million units and the second 29.58 million. Can Black Ops 4 get close to the "old days"? In the coming days, the answers will be …
Call of Duty: Black Ops is on sale for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.