Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Originally Did Have a Campaign and It Was a Co-Op, PvP Mode

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Originally Did Have a Campaign and It Was a Co-Op, PvP Mode

Black Ops 4 didn't ditch the campaign mode because of battle royale, it made battle royale because it ditched the campaign.

Treyarch caused a big stir during the unveiling of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 last year when it announced there would be no traditional single-player campaign for that year's installment. At the time, Treyarch explained this was because developers were focused on the new battle royale mode, Blackout. But a new report suggests there was a single-player campaign in development for Black Ops 4 right up until the release year of the game.

In a new report by Kotaku discussing the crunch culture at Treyarch, sources revealed that right up until 2018, when Black Ops 4 was set to launch, there was a campaign mode in development for the game. In a departure from previous years, the mode was set to be a two-versus-two PvP mode baked inside a traditional campaign.

The mode would have the player and a partner battle another pair of human opponents, or AI-driven bots if the player chose to run the mode solo. Each side would be allied with a competing faction and the four players would fight over different objectives in a post-apocalyptic world. There would be opportunities to fight with the opposing side, or even change sides during the campaign if desired.

Treyarch developers were working on this mode as late as the end of 2017. There was even a demo of the 2v2 campaign mode in development as well. But following negative feedback from playtesters and technical concerns, leadership told employees at the beginning of 2018 that the campaign mode was getting cut.

Originally, the plan was to scrape together a new, more traditional campaign mode. With 11 months until a November release, this would have required crunch on the developers. But further problems arose when Rockstar announced it would be moving Red Dead Redemption 2's release from Spring to October 2018.

In response, Activision ordered Black Ops 4 to be moved forward to October 12. With a month less to develop a new campaign, Treyarch decided to scrap the mode altogether and instead create the battle royale mode: Blackout.

The full story details not only the struggle to retool an entire game less than a year before launch, but also the treatment of QA and contract employees. Something we've seen before at companies like NetherRealm Studios, which have been accused of treating contract employees like second-class citizens.

The decision to scrap Black Ops 4's campaign now makes sense as it was a matter of limited development time, not a new direction for the franchise. The next Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare, will have a campaign as well. Read Kotaku's full story for more on the troubled development of Black Ops 4.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Fans Are Vowing to Boycott Pokemon Sword and Shield, but Here's How That's Gone in the Past

People aren't shy about airing their opinions on games in development, but are developers listening?

The Developers Who Never Gave Up

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Stories of ongoing or aspiring success from studios big and small that had rough starts on games such as Fallout 76, No Man's Sky, and Anthem.

COD Blackout Tips - All the Essential Tips for Blackout

Black Ops 4's Blackout is the first battle royale mode in Call of Duty, and we've got a full beginner's guide for you right here.

Report: Treyarch Takes Over Call of Duty 2020, Will Be Reworked Into A New Black Ops Game

It will reportedly be a Cold War-era game, with a single-player mode this time.

Black Ops 4 Operation Spectre Rising Update - New Spectre Specialist, Blackout Map Flooding

Here's our complete guide to the new Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Spectre Rising Operation update, including the new Spectre Specialist, the Blackout map changes, and all other content in the Black Ops 4 1.17 update.

Call of Duty Blackout Map - Locations List, Best Places to Drop

Here's everything you need to know about the map in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout battle royale mode.

More News

Pokemon is Getting a New Series of Animated Shorts Set in the Galar Region

The hopes and dreams of Galar region's trainers are coming soon to a small screen near you.

Exclusive: Check Out This Chill Track From the Composer of Ninja Gaiden and Tecmo Bowl

Keiji Yamagishi puts his spin on a track from Card of Darkness.

More on PC

What Was Your Favorite Reveal At The Game Awards 2019?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | It was another packed night for game announcements. What do you think was the best of them?

The 15 Best Games You Probably Missed in 2019

From flight sim to train sim, these are the best games that probably slipped past your radar this year.

Game Awards 2019 Recap: The Night’s Big Trailers and Reveals

Sizzle reels for everything from upcoming DLC to the next Xbox.

Borderlands 3 Shift Codes List and Golden Keys (December 2019)

All the info you need on getting and redeeming SHiFT Codes in Borderlands 3, plus how to get Golden Keys to earn loot.

GTA Online: What is the Payout of the Diamond Casino Heist?

We take a look at how much money you can make in the new Diamond Casino Heist.

More Battle Royale Games

Here's a Trailer For Something By PlayerUnknown Called Prologue

It's a new project from the maker of PUBG.

Fortnite Just Brought Old-School Split-Screen Multiplayer to Modern Consoles

Team up for duos and squads action on one couch and one console.

If You're Bad at Tetris 99, You Can Now Squad Up For Help

The puzzle-battle royale hybrid just got friendlier.