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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s battle royale mode is called Blackout

Will take place on the largest map Treyarch has ever made

Call of Duty’s Battle Royale mode
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will include a battle royale mode called Blackout, Activision announced during the game’s live reveal today.

The action will take place on the biggest map that developer Treyarch has ever made, roughly 1,500 times larger than Nuketown, according to the company. From the video shown during today’s presentation, Blackout’s map appears to include features of other well-known maps and locations from the larger Call of Duty universe.

Design director David Vonderhaar took the stage to stop the presentation and add an important caveat.

“For us to even consider this experience,” Vonderhaar said, “it had to be unique and done in the way that only Black Ops can do it.”

This represents the Call of Duty franchise’s first attempt at an open-world, last man standing-style survival game mode with the same level of gameplay refinement that the franchise is known for. Blackout enters a crowded market, one currently dominated by Epic Games’ Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Treyarch says the game will feature class-based character customization that’s set between the events of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3, so expect many near-future weapon systems and platforms to come into play. Tying the mode in with the larger theme of Black Ops 4, Blackout will also feature characters from Zombies lore — particularly those from the game’s new Zombies mode. Expect to also see appearances from Jason Hudson, Alex Mason, Viktor Reznov and Raul Menendez.

One key difference between Blackout and other battle royale-style games is the number and types of vehicles present on the map. As described during today’s live reveal event, players will be able to use vehicles on land, sea and in the air.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is scheduled for release on Oct. 12, 2018, on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.