Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

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Is battle royale a good fit for Treyarch's iteration of the Call of Duty engine? Black Ops 4's latest beta provides answers. An early demo of the new Blackout mode rolled out last week, revealing that the developer is aiming to deliver a very similar style of game, but targeting a 60fps update in a world where Xbox One has struggled to achieve smooth performance in PUBG. At its core, Blackout follows the same beats of play; up to 100 combatants fly across the map, skydive down, scavenge for weapons and armour, and then duke it out to be the last man standing as the field of play narrows. We're in familiar territory then - but what makes Treyarch's effort stand out?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale Blackout mode gets its first gameplay trailer

Activision has unveiled its first proper gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's new battle royale mode, Blackout. Fair dos, it looks a right lark.

Treyarch's early talk of Blackout hinted at something akin to a greatest-hits-style battle royale experience, and that definitely seems to be the case in its new gameplay trailer - which packs in all manner of elements from Call of Duty's close and distant past, including wing suits, grapple hooks, monkey bombs, and even zombies. There're also a few familiar faces, some familiar places - oh, and there's obviously plenty of action too.

In fact, Blackout's currently-80-person battle royale looks to deliver an impressively distinct form of anything-goes chaos - with its wide array of guns, gadgets, tools, and vehicles seemingly offering enormous scope when it comes to intense land, air, and sea combat.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode will support 80 players per match during beta

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale mode, Blackout, will support 80 players per match during its upcoming beta, developer Treyarch has revealed.

That's according to co-studio head Dan Bunting and studio design director David Vonderhaar, who, speaking to Game Informer, explained that the studio was prioritising gameplay - making sure its "as refined as it can be, that's it the ideal perfect format for what players are going to play" - over player count for the time being.

However, it doesn't sound like 80 players per Blackout match is necessarily set in stone. During internal testing, Treyarch has apparently experimented with 100 players per battle royale game - the same figure seen in genre leaders Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - and the studio says that the beta's current feature list is merely "the beginning of something."

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is getting some promising changes based on beta feedback

Treyarch has outlined changes coming to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 based on feedback to the recent beta - and a lot of them sound promising.

First up we have a nerf to the controversial body armour gear item. As I've reported before, one aspect of Black Ops 4 that was universally criticised by players, many of whom wanted it pulled from the game entirely, was body armour.

The complaint revolved around Black Ops 4's "Time to Kill" being too long. Call of Duty is known for being a blisteringly lethal shooter, with just a few hits enough to kill an enemy. Black Ops 4's TTK feels longer than that of previous Call of Duty games, and with the new health recovery mechanic, players are surviving longer than ever before.

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Call of Duty Black Ops 4's battle royale Blackout beta gets a September start date

Activision has announced that Blackout, Call of Duty Black Ops 4's so far only briefly seen battle royale mode, will begin its private beta testing schedule on September 10th.

The caveat here is that the Blackout beta start date only applies to PlayStation 4 users at present; it looks like interested parties on Xbox One and PC will once again be forced to sit it out until Sony's exclusivity window expires.

News of the Blackout beta, if you're wondering, comes via a brief video on the official Call of Duty Twitter feed (see below), which also teases solo, duos, and quad modes for Black Ops 4's battle royale experience - so nothing particularly revelatory there.

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Call of Duty Black Ops 4's second beta includes new cash-snatching multiplayer mode Heist

Developer Treyarch has unveiled Heist, a brand-new mode for Call of Duty Black Ops 4, which will be making its debut as part of the game's latest beta on Xbox One, PC, and PS4.

As it happens, there's very little time to wait until Black Ops 4's latest beta gets underway. This, the second beta weekend for PS4 players, and the first on Xbox One and PC, kicks off today, August 10th, at 6pm BST/10am PT on all platforms. It comes to an end on August 13th at 6pm BST/10am PT. On consoles, you'll need a pre-order to play.

Do note, however, that things are operating a bit differently on PC; those that have pre-ordered the game get a 24-hour head start and can play from today, while absolutely anyone can participate from tomorrow, August 11th at 6pm BST/10am PT, as part of the battle.net open beta. More details on how to get involved can be found on Activision's blog.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta trailer appears to confirm big battle royale leak

Call of Duty fans have picked apart the recent Black Ops 4 beta trailer and found what looks like confirmation of a two-week old battle royale leak.

The beta trailer offers a whopping 13 seconds of footage from Blackout, Call of Duty's upcoming battle royale mode. The footage is spliced with short transition clips that are hard to spot unless you slow the video down, which is exactly what fans have done.

There are a handful of transitions in the Blackout footage. The first shows the tower first seen during the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 reveal event in May.

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Activision details Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's multiplayer and Blackout betas

Activision has detailed its upcoming Xbox One, PC, and PS4 betas for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, starting with a multiplayer mode beta next month, then a beta for the series' new Battle-Royale-style Blackout mode in September.

First on the calendar is a PlayStation 4 exclusive three-day beta event for Black Ops 4's multiplayer component, which begins on August 3rd at 6pm BST/10am PDT, and ends on August 6th at 6pm BST/10am PDT.

This and all other multiplayer sessions will feature six maps (two of which will make their first public appearance, according to developer Treyarch), and these are playable in Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, Search & Destroy, and Control modes. Specialists Nomad and Prophet will be playable, alongside new, but still-secret specialists.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 announced, out before Red Dead Redemption 2

Activision has announced Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, confirming a Eurogamer report published in February.

Interestingly, the Treyarch-developed Black Ops 4 comes out on 12th October, which is ahead of Call of Duty's normal November release slot and ahead of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2, which comes out on 26th October.

There's no detail so far on the game, save it's due out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and a community event is planned for 17th May. It looks like the PC version will be available on Blizzard's Battle.net. The logo, though, is confirmed and yes, it really does look like that.

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