Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 stylized as Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII is a 2018 multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. It was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 12, 2018. It is a sequel to the 2015 game Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the fifth entry in the Black Ops sub-series, and the 15th installment in the Call of Duty series overall.
Black Ops 4 is the first Call of Duty title without a traditional single-player campaign mode. Instead, it features the Solo Missions mode, which focuses on the backstories of the game’s multiplayer characters, known as “Specialists”. The missions take place between Black Ops II and III chronologically. Some of the Specialists also carried over from Black Ops III. The multiplayer mode is the first in the series to not feature automatic health regeneration and introduces both predictive recoil and a new ballistics system. The game included three Zombies maps on release day, four if a special edition of the game, or the Black Ops Pass, was purchased. The locations of the maps include the RMS Titanic, an arena in Ancient Rome, and Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The game also introduced a battle royale mode called Blackout, which features up to 100 players in each match. Many characters from this and other Black Ops titles can be used as the player’s character model in this mode.
Development for the game started shortly after the release of Black Ops III. Treyarch chose not to create a campaign mode for the game at the beginning of development, instead putting all of their focus on the multiplayer aspect. They cited an increased interest for multiplayer and lack of time spent by the playerbase on the campaign mode as reasons why they shifted their focus. Black Ops 4 utilizes Blizzard’s Battle.net platform for the Windows version instead of Steam, the first game in the series to do so. Teasing of the game began in March 2018, with a full reveal taking place later in May. Two betas were held for the game; one for the multiplayer in August and one for Blackout in September. The release date was moved up to October instead of the series’ usual November in an attempt to avoid coinciding with the release of other high-profile games.
Pre-release reception of the game was mixed due to the game’s lack of a campaign mode and the Black Ops Pass, a season pass that distributes downloadable content (DLC) in the form of “Operations”. Black Ops 4 received positive reviews upon release, with particular praise towards its Blackout mode, multiplayer and zombies mode, although it also received criticism for the game’s lack of campaign and the design of its microtransactions implemented in updates. Despite physical retail sales for the game being the lowest in the series in a decade, it was the best-selling digital launch in Activision’s history, surpassing 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII.2