Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may have a battle royale mode instead of a campaign

Audio player loading…

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was confirmed in early March, but isn't slated to be fully revealed until May. Today, however, Polygon dropped a big rumor bomb by citing multiple sources who say that the game will ship with no single-player campaign at all, on any platform. 

The sources claimed that the campaign was cut because there just wasn't enough going to be enough time to get it done prior to the October 12 release date. Instead, Treyarch is apparently focusing on expanding the multiplayer element, including the Zombies mode and possibly some new co-op modes.   

There may also be a battle royale mode for players to dive into: Shortly after Polygon reported on the no-campaign rumor, Charlie Intel posted a story saying that it had heard the same "no campaign" rumor last month, and that its source also told it that Raven Software had been put to work on a battle royale mode "to fill the content gap."   

Dropping the campaign from Black Ops 4 would be a big change, but not entirely unprecedented. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Black Ops 3 shipped without the campaign, and while Activision hasn't revealed how sales on those platforms performed in comparison to current-gen consoles and PC, it's quite possible that it determined the absence had no significant impact. Activision also said in March that it is "keenly aware" of the success that other companies have had with the battle royale genre, and suggested that it was getting ready to take its own shot at it.   

Which isn't to say that dropping the single-player story is a risk-free strategy—obviously it's quite the opposite—but the Call of Duty series has historically been about multiplayer anyway. And what better way to distract people from the loss of a campaign than leveraging the most wildly successful game genre to come along in years?   

I've reached out to Activision for comment and will update if I receive a reply. Either way, we'll find out the truth soon enough: The Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 full reveal is set for May 17.   

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.