How Black Ops 4’s Specialists are bringing teamwork and tactics back to Call of Duty


Black Ops 4 is bringing Specialists back to Call of Duty. Treyarch’s hero-based class system, first introduced in 2015’s Black Ops 3, has been expanded, customised, and perfected as an whirring cog in the intricate machinery of Black Ops 4’s multiplayer. With ten Specialists available for players to unlock and customise, including returning recruits and a handful of fresh faces, Treyarch is placing a hard focus on cooperation, composition, and customisation for this year’s season of Call of Duty multiplayer, as Design Director David Vonderhaar explains. 

“You can play as a solo Specialist and still have fun, but when the different characters work together in certain contexts, they become what we call a force multiplier. Creating that sense of teamwork was something that we’ve been wanting to do ever since Black Ops 3, and I think we’ve finally achieved that with Black Ops 4. To have those kind of options for players to complement each other as a team, that was the big lesson that we knew we had to apply with this year’s iteration of Specialists.”

Specialists will also have their own unique character-specific Combat Training missions, contextual objectives to complete during multiplayer matches, which are designed to flesh out the backstories of the soldiers you’re playing as. This will be a new, holistic source of storytelling for Black Ops 4 in the absence of a traditional single player campaign, allowing Treyarch to more subtly craft a narrative backdrop to the PvP firefights that Call of Duty is known for. 

“It’s been an interesting and fun journey to cross bleed multiplayer with story, and add new narrative layers to both.” says Vonderhaar, when asked about Combat Training. “I think it introduces a new way of learning how to use each Specialist’s equipment, while discovering what makes them unique in the context of the world. It’s so you can look at those things in a different manner, and gives players the ability to have fun and progress without needing to be a competitive gamer.”  

Besides the gameplay variation they bring, Specialists are also there to simply add character and personality to Black Ops 4’s future dystopian setting. You won’t just be playing as a faceless grunt in multiplayer matches, but part of a diverse cast of super soldiers, each with their own play styles, skills, and idiosyncrasies. Whether you’re healing and resupplying your teammates as Crash or racking up revolver kills on the frontlines as Seraph, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s crew of Specialists are just ten more reasons to jump into its multiplayer later this month.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 releases on October 12 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One