It’s officially official ladies and gentleman. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 will be arriving this fall, sans single player campaign. One of the top selling franchises year over year is completely abandoning it in favor of the super popular Battle Royale. For those still attached to the idea of enjoying a game by themselves at home this could be very disappointing at first. However, after a ton of thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that this could be a very good thing. Now before you grab your tiki torches and plan your attack allow me to explain my thought process for just a moment.
First, unofficial data has shown that less than 50% of Xbox players have actually completed a Call of Duty campaign. Yes, I’m going to use the Xbox data as a Playstation fanboy, get over it. With that said, this is not an attempt to bash the Xbox player base, it’s actually almost the opposite. Historically, Call of Duty has been an Xbox favorite. Even with the recent attempt to transition the audience to Playstation, most people still rather play their first person shooters on the green machine. Ask Chet if you don’t believe me. It makes sense for Activision to spend less money on a part of the game that, hypothetically but realistically speaking, most players are completely ignoring. In no way am I defending the decision but I can totally understand the business move.
Which leads into my second point. Battle Royale is huge right now, but technically its still an indie game concept. I mean even the most popular Battle Royale game, Fortnite (sorry PUBG I know how much that hurt to read), was just a crazy idea thrown into a game that was very different to begin with. See, I bet you didn’t even know Fortnite is a totally different game than Fortnite: Battle Royale. That means that Activision has officially positioned Call of Duty as the first AAA Battle Royale game on the market. Seriously, think about it for just a couple seconds. Activision, although tightlipped about how much they spend on development, is known for throwing millions into every game every year. You think the random partnership with Marvel was amazing, let’s see what the people who have the budget to work with Hollywood actors regularly can do. The same people who can assemble some of the most iconic actors of all time to be apart of a secondary game mode (Zombies) can pull off a Battle Royale. Graphics, content, scale, network, literally every aspect of the game just received a small loan of a million dollars. Not collectively either, that’s each.
More importantly for me though is my third and final point. Free up some writers. Call of Duty campaigns have had some pretty crap writing but, there have also been some gems. Black Ops 1 is still my favorite FPS campaign to date, and I finished Crysis 2. And played Bioshock. Oh and Borderlands (a little bit). I mean I can list my credentials if need be but we can all pretty much agree that the campaign from Black Ops 1 is the reason most of us are fired up about the team that gave us that are not giving us more. I choose to look at this as an opportunity. Now without the pressure of having to write a story around the multiplayer component, which is always what it feels like, maybe some writers will have free reign. Maybe focusing Call of Duty on Multiplayer puts us in an alternate universe where Activision produces a FPS series with the powerful storytelling found in Spec Ops: The Line. Got your attention now huh?
Don’t get me wrong, I know this perspective is wildly optimistic but thats kinda my thing. At the end of the day, I believe the campaign was cut to focus on building what may end up being the best Battle Royale on the market. Maybe the business monsters at Activision are secretly working on a campaign mode DLC that they will try to sell us a few months after release. Not sure why I said try though. Or maybe, honestly.