The Haunting Returns
September 09, 2020
Today, we revealed Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer to the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it! Additionally, we announced our Open Beta starting on October 8th for Early Access pre-orders on PS4, so you can get your hands on the game soon.
Now that you’ve seen Multiplayer in action, let’s dig a little deeper into the key pillars of the next generation of Black Ops MP: deniable operations, signature combat, and a connected experience across the community.
(Oh, and if you haven’t watched the Multiplayer Gameplay Trailer yet, now’s the time to get caught up. You’ll want headphones on for this one.)
From the headlines that record the history you think you know, to the conspiracies you find if you read between the lines, the Black Ops series has always delivered a steady dose of mindf*ckery in the stories we tell, and Multiplayer is no exception this time around.
In Black Ops Cold War, you’ll choose from a selection of skilled Operators hailing from all over the globe, each with their own classified past that ties directly into the game’s larger narrative. That story carries over into Multiplayer, where the narrative continues in the years after the events of the single-player Campaign.
“At Treyarch, we’re never quite satisfied with the status quo. We’re always looking for a way to do it better.” - David Vonderhaar, Studio Design Director
Standing apart from the Specialists of recent Black Ops games, these Operators rely solely on their training and loadouts for success on the battlefield. As the direct sequel to the original game, Black Ops Cold War is set in the ‘80s, inspiring the team to place its focus on pure, unadulterated gunplay.
Once you’ve customized your Operator, you’ll be dropping into deniable operations all over the world, fighting your way through the battles that “never happened”: from the cold, contested waters of the North Atlantic, to the searing deserts of Angola, to the neon-soaked streets of Miami’s South Beach. Black Ops Cold War features maps ranging from our signature competitive three-lane map design and original, wide-open combat spaces, to unique large-scale maps that weave infantry and vehicle combat together in explosive new ways. We’d love to hear your feedback when you check out these locations in next month’s Open Beta and at launch.
Next, let’s talk modes: fans of traditional 6v6 combat can expect their favorite MP modes to return, including Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, Free-for-All, Kill Confirmed, and Search & Destroy. Competitive fans will also be happy to know Control is returning from Black Ops 4, and we’ll be adding plenty of new modes in our post-launch seasons. But today, we’re most excited about the new additions we’re bringing to the table on day one: VIP Escort, Combined Arms, and Fireteam.
“We’re encouraging more meaningful gameplay with expanded capture zones in Domination. We’re updating spawn systems in Hardpoint. Across all of our modes, we’re working hard to make this the most rewarding Multiplayer experience yet.” – Matt Scronce, Lead Game Designer
VIP Escort is a new 6v6 mode that introduces teamwork elements that S&D fans will enjoy. In each match, two teams take turns to protect or eliminate a player randomly selected as the VIP equipped with only a pistol, a smoke grenade, and a Spy Plane for recon. To win, the VIP has to successfully escape at one of two extraction sites on the map as their teammates defend them at all costs. The round ends when the VIP dies or gets away, or when one of the teams is wiped out.
To add another layer of coordination to the mix, each player goes into a downed state before they’re taken out, and teammates can revive them before they bleed out. This means it often pays to stick together in pairs and watch your partner’s back, at the expense of covering more ground if you choose not to go the lone wolf route. There’s always a level of misdirection and mind games that come into play in every round of this mode.
In addition to the traditional 6v6 game modes we’re known for, Black Ops Cold War introduces large-scale deniable operations in Combined Arms, a new 12v12 game type that combines infantry warfare and vehicular combat into a single cohesive experience. Combined Arms ups the ante with a new fleet of vehicles suited for any situation across land, sea, and air, including Snowmobiles, Dirt Bikes, Gunboats, Wakerunners, Tanks, and more.
We’re always finding new ways to dominate in this mode, whether it’s rappelling and ziplining across the high seas of Armada or slamming a C4-strapped Snowmobile into an enemy tank on Crossroads. What you saw in the Multiplayer Gameplay Trailer today was just a glimpse of what’s waiting for you in this 24-player battle.
Last but not least, we’re pulling out all the stops with Fireteam, a new category of Multiplayer game modes where 10 teams of four face off against one another in large-scale maps featuring an assortment of vehicles to commandeer and objectives to complete as you best see fit. Fireteam is designed to allow for plenty of epic gameplay moments with big, unique environments for you to explore with your squad.
The first signature Fireteam game type is called Dirty Bomb, which we’ll plan to showcase in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for more details as we get closer to the Open Beta!
With more than a decade of Black Ops Multiplayer experiences under our belts, “signature combat” means a lot: fast and frenetic action, fluid movement, fan-favorite weaponry, rock-solid game mechanics, and above all, tons of fun. All of the pieces have to fit just right for each new entry in the series.
First and foremost, it’s all about giving players the tools they need to succeed. In lieu of the old Pick-10 model, this Create-a-Class system is slot-based, giving players the freedom to choose a primary, secondary, tactical, lethal, Field Upgrade, Wildcard, and a full set of Perks in every loadout. Yep, Wildcards are back... and that’s just the start.
“We know that, to you, combat is more than just pointing and shooting. It’s about how your Operator moves and weaves through the world. It’s how your weapon feels and reacts in your hands. It’s the sound of bullets storming past you, the rattle and bang of your weapon as it fires.” - Tony Flame, Lead Combat Designer
Gunsmith goes beyond anything you’ve seen in a Black Ops game with up to 54 attachments per weapon across 8 attach points on every primary weapon. In-game weapon stats offer a deep customization experience, including exact percentage changes for all attachment stats. And for the first time, you can equip up to 8 attachments at once on a single primary weapon with a certain Wildcard selected.
Field Upgrades are now part of Create-a-Class, offering Cold War-era support gadgets and offensive ordnances such as the SAM Turret, Jammer, and Proximity Mine. You’ll earn these based on time spent in-game, they persist after death, and they have a cooldown that kicks in after use. While they won’t help you turn the tide of a battle on their own, Field Upgrades can give your team an extra nudge toward victory when clearing the skies or holding down an objective.
Of course, signature combat has to feature a wide-ranging Black Ops arsenal, including the time-tested AK-47 assault rifle, burst-fire M16 tactical rifle, AK-74u submachine gun, and the classic 1911 pistol... plus a whole new slate of Cold War weaponry. While some of the names have changed since the ‘60s, the sights and sounds have only gotten bigger and better.
Scorestreaks are back and completely revamped to be more dynamic and rewarding than ever. In Black Ops Cold War, score is no longer lost on death and you’ll earn score multipliers for stringing together multiple kills in the same life. You’ll also earn score for helping your team to play the objective, and each Scorestreak will go on an automatic cooldown after it’s used to prevent spamming.
While these changes may seem like a lot on paper, they’ve been carefully implemented through tons of playtesting and tuning, all in service of a more balanced and fulfilling MP experience across the board. Earning those high-end streaks now feels more satisfying than ever, without all the heartbreak over losing your progress when you were just one kill away!
Scorestreaks include both manually driven and AI-controlled vehicles – like the classic RC-XD and Attack Helicopter – as well as powerful handheld weapons and support items, including the devastating War Machine grenade launcher. This assortment of Scorestreaks might be our most fun and versatile to date, and we think you’re going to love deploying them on the frontlines.
We know there are a million questions out there that we’re looking forward to answering in due time – just know that there’s plenty to cover in today’s MP reveal, and we’ll have more news to come! For now, let’s answer some of the burning questions we’ve seen already:
A CONNECTED EXPERIENCE BUILT FOR NEXT-GEN
Black Ops Cold War brings the community together with next-gen, cross-gen, and cross-play compatibility, so players can party up with their friends no matter which platform they choose across current-gen consoles, next-gen consoles, or PC. It’s a beautiful thing.
In case you missed it, post-launch Multiplayer maps and modes will be free for all players, and the game will feature a unified progression journey shared with Call of Duty: Warzone, adding inventory items that can be used in both titles. Both games will also share post-launch content from a narrative standpoint, interweaving some of the themes, weapons, and Operators of Black Ops Cold War into Warzone.
“Black Ops Cold War is, at its heart, a connected experience – and playing together on whatever platforms you prefer only heightens that experience.” – Miles Leslie, Creative Specialist
On the technology front, our teams have pushed the limits of in-game visual fidelity through photogrammetry-captured environments and characters, photometric lighting, and a high-dynamic-range, 4K experience on next-gen consoles and PC. With the jump to 4K, tiny details in the environment stand out, and by using photogrammetric techniques that measure accurate colors and material properties of physical objects and environments, players can see even more crystal-clear details on-screen.
Both next-gen and current-gen visuals are especially immersive thanks to the latest advancements in lighting. Measured, physically accurate lighting values and a design workflow built upon believable placement of full lighting fixtures lead to the most natural lighting possible. With these new tools, the art and design teams are able to enhance gameplay and maintain visibility of enemies without disturbing the natural beauty of the environment.
A new contour terrain-building toolset also allows for the development of larger and more immersive play spaces for all-new Multiplayer experiences. We started with our tools and processes for procedurally building large, open maps in natural spaces, first seen in 2018’s Blackout, and expanded it to make things faster, more powerful, and more detailed.
Bigger and more expansive environments for our Fireteam modes require moving beyond fixed-size worlds. To unleash the full potential of these larger play spaces, we break the world into multiple interactive districts that seamlessly transition to accurate background vignettes, allowing for a wider variety of unique map designs.
"We’ve worked with teams from our partner studios to advance our tech tremendously since Black Ops 4. Art and design really nailed it with natural environments and lifelike characters, weapons, and vehicles. When you experience all this along with our awesome 3D audio, it’s fully immersive." – Eran Rich, Director of Technology
Black Ops Cold War features enhanced in-game audio, including 3D audio support on next-gen and PC, and a complete acoustic model to provide an authentic sound experience on all platforms. This allows sound waves to be delayed, reflected, and obstructed by geometry accurately, dynamically changing as players and other sound sources navigate through complex scenes.
We’ve also incorporated a new Threat Priority audio system that dynamically assigns higher priorities to direct threats during a firefight, so you always hear what you need to be successful. Shots are louder and sound different when an enemy is firing toward you; directional footsteps help determine the proximity and position of your enemies above, below, and around; directional bullet cracks and bullet impacts let you know where the highest threats are located; and improved occlusion provides more detail about the direction and distance of events all around you. On top of all this, next-generation hardware supports awesome 3D audio features, like HRTF on the PlayStation®5.
In the heat of a Multiplayer shootout, these new audio systems more clearly communicate where the danger is coming from at all times. In a game where sound can sometimes mean all the difference between victory and defeat, players will have every bit of information they need to win based on their awareness, map knowledge, and talent.
On next-gen consoles, players can expect 120Hz support for reduced input latency and a smoother gameplay experience, and hardware-based raytracing will be possible on next-gen, along with DirectX raytracing on PC for more realistic lighting and shadow effects. And on the PlayStation 5, haptic feedback and HRTF 3D audio will provide the most tactile combat experience yet in a Black Ops game.
SEE YOU IN THE OPEN BETA
We can’t wait for you to see, hear, and play everything that was covered today when the game launches on November 13th... but before all that, the Open Beta kicks off in just a matter of weeks! Starting on October 8th for Early Access pre-orders on PS4, the game will be out in the wild and we’ll be playing alongside all of you.
There’s still plenty of work to be done before now and then, so we’ll wrap it up here. Download our new Multiplayer Fan Kit for official screenshots, mobile wallpapers, and more, and let us know what you thought of today’s Multiplayer Reveal on Twitter and Instagram! We’ll see you soon.