As twitchy as the Call Of Duty games have been since Modern Warfare, the series has built up a reputation as a console flagship series. Publisher Activision seem eager to break away from that impression with Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4, and to prove this, they’ve packed their Gamescom ‘PC trailer’ with as many buzzwords and high-end hardware concessions as possible. Blops 4 may not have a single-player campaign mode, but it definitely has support for 4k, ultra-widescreen, variable field-of-view and more. All good features to have, but I’m curious how many truly care.
“All footage captured on PC”, declares the trailer. “Designed for mouse and keyboard”, it says, hammering the point. I’d be surprised if any FPS on PC at this point wasn’t, but a few wonky console ports in ages past seem to have left a lasting negative impression. As for what we see of the game, there’s a lot of precision shooting and rapid spins (accompanied by post-production whooshing noises to make playing with a mouse seem extra fancy) showcased. There’s even a snap-shot through a deployable shield shown, making defences seem worthless against a high-DPI mouse.
While I appreciate that this trailer is trying to appeal to the esports twitch shooter crowd, I can’t help but feel it ends up glossing over the more interesting aspects of the series. Sure, popping someone in the face with an assault rifle is the optimal way to play nine times out of ten, but Call Of Duty has been defined by its playful gadgetry and sci-fi technology for a while now. While the trailer features some brief glimpses at a wheeled drone and a mine launcher, the silliest part is probably a player using a grappling hook to move ten feet over flat ground – a waste of good tech.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 is launching on October 12th, and will be exclusive to Blizzard’s Battle.net store on PC. The game will cost £50/€60/$60, or a chunk more for the Deluxe edition with season pass, which will be the only way to access its DLC maps.