Black Ops 4 Blackout is Call of Duty's take on a Battle Royale mode, where large numbers of players attempt to be the last person standing on a huge sprawling map.
Black Ops 4 is probably the most radical Call of Duty game in years, ditching a traditional single-player campaign to focus on multiplayer activities, including three Zombies experiences, changes to traditional player-versus-player matches and, of course, this newly added mode.
We know the essentials of how Call of Duty Battle Royale will work, but exact details for key elements such as the Blackout map size and player count are all a little uncertain.
Here's everything we know about Blackout ahead of the game's launch on October 12.
What is Blackout, the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Battle Royale mode?
Blackout is a Battle Royale mode in the same vein as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite, but with a Call of Duty twist.
Developer Treyarch has so far confirmed the following:
- The map will feature locations inspired by maps from across the series, and will be 1,500 times bigger than Nuketown.
- Characters from across the series, including the original Call of Duty Zombies Origins, will be available.
- Weapons and equipment from across the series will return.
- Blackout will feature land, air and sea vehicles.
- The ability to battle either solo or in teams.
- The Black Ops pass - the games form of season pass - will offer four exclusive characters.
So far, so good. However, what we don't know is:
- The number of players who can play against one another in a match. The industry norm is 100, but right now all developer Treyarch can commit to is "multiples higher than the highest we've ever done", and that the team is "fine tuning" things in development. "Our approach on this is, it's not really about player count, because at the end of the day it's about whatever that experience is designed to be optimised for and to have the most fun in," co-studio head Dan Bunting told Eurogamer. "Our goal is not to strive to hit the highest player count. Our goal is to deliver the best, most Black Ops experience we possibly can."
- Whether progression between standard multiplayer and Zombies will carry over into Blackout in some way.
- Though you have to "scavenge" to win, exactly how loot will work is unknown.
- How unlocking and playing as classic characters will work.
- Whether classic Call of Duty tenants - such as kill streaks - will feature at all.
What is the Black Ops 4 Blackout map size?
Though we know the Blackout map will be 1,500 times larger than Black Ops fan-favourite location Nuketown, we don't know exactly what that means.
One Call of Duty player, Drift0r, has used the power of mathematics to find out, calculating the size of Black Ops 3's Nuketown map and multiplying it 1,500 times. The result? That Blackout's map will come in under the size of Fortnite's map.
Of course, that's just an estimate, and if you're a PUBG player, that comparison is a little more difficult, but expect it to come in closer in size to the new, smaller 4x4 Sanhok map than the other larger arenas - though again, the exact comparison between even PUBG and Fortnite's settings are unclear.
Either way, it's a play setting far larger than anything we've seen in Call of Duty to date.
What else do we know about the Black Ops 4 Battle Royale mode Blackout?
Based on what else we know about the reveal trailer and various changes to Black Ops 4, here's how we can expect the mode to play:
- Based on the teaser trailer, it looks like parachuting will feature in the mode, which we assume as the method you enter the map as per other Battle Royale games:
- Futuristic abilities - such as thrust jumps or wall runs from recent futuristic Call of Duty games - won't make it into Black Ops 4. It will be - you guessed it - a "boots on the ground" experience. Our hands-on preview suggests it feels faster than Call of Duty WW2, however, in part thanks to infinite sprinting and a generous slide ability.
- There is no automatic health regeneration, instead giving players the ability to heal other players. Healing will also work on a cooldown.
- The game's Pick 10 system will return in multiplayer alongside class-based specialists, though it's unknown if either will make it into Blackout.
- Black Ops 4 as a whole will only be available through Battle.net on PC, meaning yet another client to download if you fancy dabbling in this, PUBG and Fortnite.
- You can expect a 60 frames-per-second framerate in Blackout. In an interview with Eurogamer, co-studio head Dan Bunting said: "We are always committed to 60 frames per second with every chance we possibly can. And of course, there's always circumstances where you might dip down. But a core pillar of our team is to always deliver the performance players need, especially in multiplayer type gameplay settings."