Your Definitive Black Ops 4 Pre-Launch Guide -- From Zombies to Battle Royale & More

Battle Royale, Blackout mode, Zombies, and a slew of pre-order bonuses -- this is absolutely everything you need to know before buying Call of Duty: Black Ops 4!

Call of Duty returns on October 12, arriving a bit earlier than normal compared to recent entries like last year's Call of Duty: WWII.

Fans guessed early on that Treyarch's return to the series would bring another Black Ops entry, but anyone who expected the return of a mind-bending, sci-fi-focused single-player campaign is in for a surprise. This is going to be a very different Call of Duty, as Black Ops 4 features a big shift away from some of the expected standards of the series.

Let's dive into absolutely everything you need to know about Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, from the new multiplayer-only focus to Blackout mode, the return of Zombies, and all the special editions and pre-order bonuses available.

Goodbye, Single Player

The follow-up to Black Ops III will purposefully exclude all single-player campaign content for all platformsThere will be no Cold War espionage or futuristic trips into the depths of the human psyche this time around.

Considering the shift in focus, hopefully, we don't have the same multiplayer problems as with the last Black Ops, like when no one could download camos or emblems. For the non-console crowd, Black Ops 4's multiplayer for PC will be handled through Blizzard's Battle.net platform.

So what's happening with the multiplayer-only style? First up, we've got a return to the Pick 10 create-a-class system. Multiplayer maps will also stick more closely to the boots-on-the-ground approach the fan base seems to prefer, but there are a variety of abilities that each available Specialist uses.

Here's What We Know So Far About Each Specialist Type:
  • Battery -- Lobs grenades that either bounce or stick to surfaces
  • Ruin -- The rusher class that moves across the map with a grapple gun to quickly change elevation
  • Firebreak -- Emits a damaging radiation field and uses a flamethrower
  • Ajax -- The breacher class with a rapidly-deploying defensive shield that has a built-in pistol for instant fortifications
  • Recon -- Deploys a vision pulse that reveals enemies to your teammates through obstacles
  • Crash -- Support class that heals other players and provides ammo packs that give bonuses when used to kill enemies
  • Torque -- Trapper class that sets down razor wire to slow and damage enemies
  • Seraph -- Tactician class that lets your team redeploy at different locations

Sadly, it appears there will be no class that sends out a swarm of golden killer bees or takes over robotic enemies this time around. We got spoiled with Black Ops III.

Hello, Battle Royale Blackout Mode

Besides the standard multiplayer maps, Blackout Mode is the most notable change in Black Ops 4. It will employ the popular Battle Royale style of 100-player, last-man-standing combat. Blackout will also feature the biggest map in CoD history, described as 1,500 times the size of the iconic Nuke Town map.

We haven't seen a ton of specifics yet on how Blackout will work or differ from Fortnite or PUBG, although obviously, we know the basics considering the current Battle Royale craze.

Two important details have been unveiled so far: Blackout will feature aquatic, land-based, and aerial vehicles instead of just infantry firefights, and the map will include famous locations and characters from throughout the franchise colliding in one place.

Obviously, replaying single-player missions for hunting down collectibles will no longer be a thing, but if the weekly challenges in Fortnite are any indication, that shouldn't stop Treyarch from giving players regular new content as a reason to keep logging back on.

If there's anything we can assume, it's that there will most likely be some sort of Battle Pass associated with the game's BR mode -- which makes more plausible sens considering there's yet to be a Season Pass announced. 

Black Ops 4 Zombie Mode

In another change for the franchise, all three tiers of Black Ops 4's Zombie mode will be immediately available at launch, without any extra purchases necessary. Essentially, it seems like Zombie mode will serve the role of the campaign, although obviously with a co-op bent.

Easter eggs were already getting insane in Infinite Warfare and WW2, so with a total lack of a single-player mode to engage players, expect the Black Ops 4's Easter egg hunt to be even more out of control. 

This time around, it also looks like we'll have zombie-hunting mayhem on the Titanic, in ancient Rome, and in Alcatraz with these three scenarios:

  • Voyage of Despair
  • IX
  • Blood of the Dead

Black Ops 4 Special Editions and Pre-Order Bonuses

The pre-orders have been curiously restrained this time around as the focus of the game changes. 

With a base price of $59.99, Amazon Prime members get 20% off the pre-order. If you don't have a Prime subscription, it's worth noting that Newegg currently has the BLOPs 4 pre-order discounted to $49.99.

Remember Black Ops 3's $200 Juggernog edition with the functioning mini-fridge/Perk-a-Cola machine? Well, there's nothing like that so far for U.S. customers, although the Australian Specialist Edition for $119.99 includes a 5" statue and a custom steel game case.

Instead, all standard pre-orders appear to be the same at this point, offering 1,100 points to use on in-game purchases. Notably, there's no extended Special Edition with a season pass for any region at this point.

Black Ops 4 Season Pass Shakeup

Let's reiterate that last point, as it marks a huge shakeup in the business model -- there's been no announcement of a season pass at this point, and none of the pre-orders list anything of the sort. Since all the Zombies content is launching on Day One, it seems the season pass is a thing of the past.

We can't expect this to be some sort of altruistic move on the part of Activision or Blizzard to let gamers play the game cheaper, however.

These games are released to make money, so expect in-game content like Battle Royale skins, multiplayer loot boxes, and all sorts of other microtransactions to make up a bigger focus.

Getting in on the Black Ops 4 Beta

Now for the big question -- how do we get in on the Black Ops 4 private beta? The beta has been confirmed to be accessible for anyone who pre-orders through any source.

The Black Ops 4 beta release date is unconfirmed at this point, though. It's possible it will arrive earlier or go longer for PS4 players, as Sony console fans got content earlier for the previous Black Ops title. Stay tuned for a finalized beta release date!

Are you looking forward to Black Ops 4, and what do you think of the switch away from a traditional single-player campaign? Do think the game's Battle Royale will add anything new to the formula or is it a simple cash-grab? 

Let us know what you hope to see and if you plan to stick with the franchise in the comments below. As always, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on the next installment of the Call of Duty franchise as it develops.

Published May. 22nd 2018

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