Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 — Everything we know so far

The next entry to Activision's world-renowned shooter franchise, Call of Duty, has been officially unveiled ahead of its scheduled release this fall. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII will revive the fan-favorite series, fully embracing its multiplayer successes, while exploring new online modes. After a brief reveal event, we now have a clearer idea of some major changes on the way.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: Reveal

Leaks surrounding Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 preceded the game's reveal, as a natural progression for its developer following 2015's Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. After credible details surfaced ahead of time and a peculiar teaser from NBA star James Harden, the game was formally announced on March 8, 2018.

Two months later, Activision hosted a "Community Reveal Event," which provided a deeper look into what Black Ops 4 has to offer. This dove into its competitive multiplayer, zombies and battle royale Blackout mode, while also confirming the single-player campaign is being axed. Although last year's Call of Duty opted for a WW2 backdrop, Black Ops 4 returns to a near-future setting.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: Multiplayer

Since dropping single-player, the tried and tested competitive multiplayer of Call of Duty takes center stage once again. The familiar arena-based gameplay makes its return, inheriting core mechanics from recent near-future titles. Any fan of recent Call of Duty titles will feel at home and know what to expect from the package.

Activision pitches multiplayer as the "center of the game's narrative" in Black Ops 4, with deeper backstories and context for each Specialist. The "pick 10" create-a-class system also makes a return, allowing players to create balanced loadouts around an allocation of points. Through these changes, it hopes to allow players to engage with these characters and express themselves through customization.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: Zombies

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 brings back its praised cooperative zombies mode too, pitting up to four players against waves of unrelenting hordes. Building on recent developments upon the mode, the game is set to offer a narrative-driven spin on the formula, notably emphasized when lacking a single-player campaign.

The biggest zombies experience yet will be available from launch, with three dedicated maps accompanied by unique stories. "XI" is set in a gladiatorial arena, "Voyage of Despair" occupies a transatlantic cruise ship, while "Call of the Dead" offers a throwback to Black Ops II's "Mob of the Dead" prison. Following Charlotte, Diego, Scarlet, and Shaw, you'll uncover a mysterious ancient organization fixated on plunging the world into chaos.

Black Ops 4 should also introduce new spins on the mode, helping players find new ways to replay content. AI-controlled allies will allow solo players to undergo the full cooperative experience, without finding teammates online. New options will be provided to allow players to finely tune all aspects of the zombies sandbox and scale difficulty. Callings also add further depth for everyone, with seasonal challenges to complete.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: Blackout

Surprising nobody, Activision plans to capitalize on the success of Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds with a new Call of Duty battle royale experience. "Blackout" will meld the series' fast-paced action with high-stakes last-man-standing gameplay, offering a fresh take on the popular genre.

The team isn't being generous on details, likely withholding announcements for an E3 2018 showcase. We currently know the mode will capitalize on existing icons of the series, bringing back heroes from previous games in some form. Air, land and sea vehicles will also be ushered into gameplay, which has only been attempted sparingly in earlier games. Other common traits of battle royale games are expected to return, including scavenging mechanics and a shrinking play area.

Similar experiences often accommodate 100 players in a single match and an equal scale is expected for Blackout. Activision isn't willing to commit to a player count, though gives the impression this will be far larger than the previous Call of Duty multiplayer experiences. The map for this mode will be 1,500 times the size of Black Ops' Nuketown, which can hold a sizeable pool of competitors.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: Release date and price

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is currently slated to release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on October 12, 2018. The standard edition of the game will be priced at $59.99 on all platforms, with higher tier editions expected in the months ahead. Preorders for Xbox One copies are being accepted at Microsoft, Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy.

Counting down to Black Ops 4

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may be a while away, although the coming months should provide a wealth of information for fans. As always, we'll be sure to cover it, while updating this post with additional details. Are you looking forward to Call of Duty Black Ops 4? Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Updated May 23, 2018: Refreshed this article following the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 reveal.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.