Today marks the highly anticipated debut of Call of Duty: Black Ops IV's entry into the battle royale format of online multiplayer. Players with a private beta key may participate in a historic moment for the franchise primarily known for its competitive head-to-head team oriented modes such as Search and Destroy.
Will Treyarch's decision to enter this realm of multiplayer be welcomed as a standalone mode with enough of its own original properties to divorce it from titles that likely inspired its inception? Or will this move be viewed as an example of how the free market may drive competition, in a sort of " if you can't beat em' join em'" way. Only time will tell, and as I type this article, I have no doubt that content creators are preparing to upload their first impressions and reviews, so be sure to keep an eye out for how day one of this private beta is received! If it is anything like the previous two weekends of Black Ops IV's private beta events, there will be no shortage of takeaways, that much I can guarantee.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops IV's blackout mode, players are grouped into teams of four and dropped on an island with a maximum player capacity of 80 players. The objective of this free for all game mode is to be the last player or squad remaining. The map is inspired by hallmarks of the Call of Duty franchise. The map is decorated with vehicles, zombies, and areas known to enthusiasts of the series, even Nuketown makes its an appearance which I suspect will be ground zero for excellent loot and combat.This private beta is certainly worth checking out if you are a fan of battle royale combat, but are looking for it in a first person format and without the building and material gathering of Fortnite.
The battle royale format of online multiplayer has taken the gaming community by storm in the past year or so. There are even plans for a Fortnite Monopoly game debuting next month, which tells me that this mode has become a household name. With the Battlefield franchise looking to follow suit and implement a similar mode, there is no telling whether the battle royale format of gameplay will eventually expire as a fad, or usher in a new lasting format of multiplayer with staying power. Your guess is as good as mine.
The big question for me is how will this new format impact competitive multiplayer and its subsequent team format. In a format where players can progress further by deciding not to engage, either by hiding or letting others fight it out in order to lower the remaining player number, deciding how to strategize can be very counter intuitive when competing among twenty teams of four, as opposed to a single team of opponents. This dynamic, which is a hallmark of the game mode, alone is a game changer.
Players must decide whether they are satisfied by eliminating several opponents aggressively and increasing the likelihood that they are subsequently targeted and eliminated by drawing attention to themselves, or if winning by any means necessary is worth it to refrain from combat and obtain less kills in order to pull off a successful long game. The answer is likely knowing when to implement both styles of play.
My prediction is that competitive search and destroy players and die hard fans of Counter Strike, Halo, Overwatch, will enjoy this mode and its appeal, but the real enthusiasts who will populate this mode will be fans of Fortnite and PUBG. With that in mind, this new mode may be Call of Duty's attempt at appealing to players of the latter, both of which are exponentially successful titles. It would be a massive success for Call of Duty: Black Ops IV to corner both the competitive market, and team based free for all fanatics.