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, as well as dates for the Black Ops 4 beta.

Here's everything we know about Blackout and the Black Ops 4 beta ahead of the game's launch on October 12.

Black Ops 4 start time and beta dates explained

After a PS4-only beta last weekend (August 3rd to 6th) there will be a Black Ops 4 beta across all platforms for its standard multiplayer mode, featuring six maps, six game modes and 10 Specalists.

black_ops_4_beta
  • Black Ops 4 PS4 and Xbox One dates: August 10th to August 13th
  • Black Ops 4 PC dates: Early access on August 10th, then open beta from August 11th to August 13th

The Black Ops 4 beta start time - and end time - will be the same on all platforms at the following times:

  • UK: 6pm (BST)
  • Europe: 7pm (CEST)
  • East Coast US: 1pm (EDT)
  • West Coast US: 10am (PDT)

After that, a dedicated Blackout beta will go live in September, also first on PS4.

Black Ops 4 beta code access and beta rewards explained

To access the beta on console, you must get a Black Ops 4 beta code by pre-ordering the game. If from a store, you will receive a code from the retailer, while digital purchases will grant your account automatic access.

On PC, you download the game through BattleNet. You don't need to pre-order to play the Black Ops 4 beta, though doing so will give you one day of early access.

Black Ops 4 beta reward

Everyone participating in the Black Ops 4 beta will receive a "unique, one-of-a-kind calling card". Anyone who also reaches max rank will receive a Permanent Unlock Token for any Create-a-Class content for the full game.

Black Ops 4 beta PC specs

Ahead of the launch of the Black Ops 4 PC beta, minimum and recommended PC specs were made available. Note the following applies only to the beta - specs might change for the Blackout beta and the full release later this year.

Black Ops 4 beta minimum PC specs:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-Bit or later
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 2500k or AMD equivalent
  • RAM: 8GB RAM
  • HDD: 25GB HD space
  • Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2 GB / GTX 1050 2GB or AMD Radeon HD 7850
  • DirectX: Version 11.0 compatible video card or equivalent
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

Black Ops 4 beta recommended PC specs:

  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k or AMD equivalent
  • RAM: 12GB RAM
  • HDD: 25GB HD space
  • Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / GTX 1060 6GB or AMD Radeon R9 390 / AMD RX 580
  • DirectX: Version 11.0 compatible video card or equivalent
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

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.

You can see the very first look from the 1 minute 25 second mark in this multiplayer beta trailer:

It's not much to go on, but so far Developer Treyarch has 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." One particular leak, which is seemingly backed up by scenes in the latest trailer, suggest at least 50 players, with 64 being tested by developer Treyarch.
  • 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 and what does it feature?

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.

blackout_map

The other question is, what features will be included in this Fortnite-sized map? How Battle Royale maps work is there are a number of 'named locations', which are settlements or points of interest that players gravitate to.

In Blackout, this will be actual maps from previous games in the series. According to the July trailer for Black Ops 4, there are occasional glimpses of various locations. In these are to be believed, this means we can expect the following:

  • Raid (Black Ops 2)
  • Cargo (Black Ops 2)
  • Asylum (Call of Duty: World at War, complete with Zombies, offering player vs environment elements?)
  • Nuketown (Black Ops 2)
black_ops_4_blackout_5
Post-nuke Nuketown?

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:
black_ops_4_blackout_1
  • 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_multiplayer
  • 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."

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Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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