Black Ops 4’s Blackout looks like the battle royale for itchy trigger fingers

Beta starts next week

A mere four days before Treyarch and Activision christen Black Ops 4‘s Blackout mode with a private beta, we’re finally treated to the first dedicated look at Call of Duty‘s take on battle royale. Details have trickled out in recent days — like that the matches will be punctuated with zombies to keep everyone on their toes — but we haven’t actually seen it until today.

This trailer makes Blackout seem way more Call of Duty than battle royale, as if those two are somehow mutually exclusive. There’s rarely a moment of silence in this two-minute video. Adrenaline-pumping firefights and explosions are everywhere. Some of it is for the sake of theatrics, but how much?

The reason it’s a jarring trailer is because PUBG and Fortnite have trained us to think of battle royales as games where there are long stretches of quietly pushing forward before bullets start flying. Action isn’t constant. It’s mostly sparse, but it’s of the utmost importance when it finally happens.

Call of Duty has always been about firing first and asking questions later. But in battle royale, where survival is the name of the game, engaging isn’t always the best strategy. Will Black Ops 4 suppress players’ well-conditioned urges to shoot at everything that moves? Or will it feel like a large team deathmatch with no respawns?

The answer is nearly upon us. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s private beta launches first on PlayStation 4 on September 10. PC and Xbox One follow on September 14. They all run until the morning of September 17. As of now, the only way into the private beta on consoles is to pre-order the game. On PC, it seems to be open to everyone through Here’s a link to all the scheduling details.

Brett Makedonski
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