When I caught up with Treyarch and Beenox earlier this month, Jonathan Moses and Thomas Wilson spoke about how Black Ops 4 aims to be the 'best PC version of COD ever'. Information on its incoming Blackout battle royale mode remains slim, but both Moses and Wilson, alongside Treyarch's director of communications John Rafacz, have teased more info at Gamescom.
Players will be able to pilot Blackout's weaponised vehicles across the entire map—"by land, sea and air"—Wilson tells us.
Rafacz adds: "There's a range of vehicles that I think are well-balanced to match with the on-foot combat. It isn't like you're driving a tank, trying to fight against a dude with a scavenged submachine gun. They're all well-balanced. We've been having a lot of playtests at Treyarch over the last several months getting ready for this, and it's a blast to play. It feel great. It feels like Black Ops."
When pressed about specific loadouts, Rafacz, Wilson and Moses remain tight-lipped. They are, however, able to speak more about Blackout's maps.
"It's easy to understand why people see it as a patchwork, but all of the maps are built seamlessly together," says Wilson. "The environments are all inspired by classic maps, and you'll see moments from Firing Squad and Nuketown in there, but it's not like we just dropped them right next to each other and glued them together. It is still very much an environment build for Black Ops."
Rafacz adds there are a number of things both Treyarch and Beenox are still keen to keep under wraps, but those familiar with the battle royale formula—as it appears in, say, PUBG and Fortnite—will have an idea of what to expect from Blackout. You drop in, scavenge for weapons, and go from there.
"It's an extremely coherent presentation," says Rafacz, "but on top of that it's ten years of heritage of Black Ops put together, through weapons, characters, environments, vehicles—land, sea and air. There's a lot there to dig if you're a Black Ops fan."
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout battle royale beta kicks off next month. Till then, read Andy's words on this thoroughly modern take on the Call of Duty series.
Additional reporting by Tom Senior.