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 - and the Black Ops 4 Blackout beta is the first place to try it.
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.
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 Blackout beta start times and release dates for Xbox One and PC
After the Black Ops 4 beta for the game's core multiplayer and the launch of Blackout on PS4, Activision has revealed the Blackout beta start date for all platforms:
- Xbox One Blackout beta start date: Friday, September 14th
- PC early access Blackout beta start date: Friday, September 14th
- PC open beta Blackout beta start date: Saturday, September 15th
The Blackout beta end date is the same for all platforms - Monday, September 17th.
As for the Black Ops 4 Blackout beta start time and end time, it is the same across all platforms and dates:
- UK: 6pm (BST)
- Europe: 7pm (CEST)
- East Coast US: 1pm (EDT)
- West Coast US: 10am (PDT)
Black Ops 4 beta code access and beta rewards explained
First, if you participated in the first Black Ops 4 beta, then access to the Blackout beta is automatically granted. It's thought to be the same client as before - it'll need an update, but having it pre-installed and ready to go could save a little time.
If you've yet to participate in the Black Ops 4 beta, 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.
Though experience won't carry over into the full game, playing the first multiplayer beta gave everyone a "unique, one-of-a-kind calling card" to carry over into the full game. It's not confirmed if this is the same, but there might be something similar.
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.
Here is the full trailer for the mode:
We know that:
- 80 players per match will be supported - with a tease it could increase in future
- The Blackout 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, duos 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:
- 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?
The Blackout map features a variety of locations from across the series, including:
- Construction Site
- Nuketown Island
- Cargo Docks
- Firing Range
- Fracking Tower
- Train Station
- Hyrdo Dam
The Blackout map will be 1,500 times larger than Black Ops fan-favourite location Nuketown. 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 trailer, it looks like parachuting will feature, which we assume as the method you enter the map as per other Battle Royale games, as well as get around during the match.
- 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."