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Treyarch confirms Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 won’t have a single-player campaign

A dubious first for the series

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Firebreak aiming a gun Treyarch/Activision

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 developer Treyarch acknowledged this week that the game will not include a standard single-player story campaign, making it the first mainline entry in the franchise to do so.

The news confirms what Polygon reported last month, based on multiple sources: Treyarch decided to scrap an unfinished Black Ops 4 campaign and focus instead on multiplayer components, in the form of the Call of Duty series’ traditional competitive multiplayer package and its cooperative Zombies mode.

“Zombies has a couple of different modes that [the developers] have set up to be able to play solo,” said Treyarch chairman Mark Lamia during an interview with members of the media this week, prior to today’s Black Ops 4 reveal event. The Zombies mode will offer four-player co-op, as usual, and it will also be playable alone with AI-controlled partners. And it’s telling a new story focusing on a band of four heroes traveling through time.

While there will be “no traditional campaign,” said Lamia, Black Ops 4’s multiplayer component will include a feature called Solo Missions with a narrative element. Lamia described Solo Missions as a “skill-based” setup in which players can sharpen their skills.

“It’ll be a narrative fiction — there’s a story here, but it’s being told inside of the multiplayer universe,” said Lamia. He added that the tale “goes way deeper” than Black Ops 3, which “gave you some backstory on the individual specialists.”

The idea, it seems, is to build storytelling into Black Ops 4’s various multiplayer offerings. The game offers “more narrative and character depth in multiplayer than ever before,” said co-studio head Dan Bunting during the reveal event.

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

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