On September 13th (KST), Blizzard Entertainment held the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Media Day at the Seoul Four Seasons Hotel and shared details about the game, which is planned to be released on October 12th. Jonathan Moses, the Senior Producer at Treyarch, participated in the event and introduced the game.
He spoke of the game as the convergence of the entire Black Ops worlds, so the title is expected to feature a wide variety of content for multiplayer, zombie mode, and the new Battle Royale mode known as Blackout. After the event, we were able to meet Jonathan and had a chance to hear about the design process and vision behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Q. There’s no more single player in Black Ops 4 and the game is now solely multiplayer-based. What possibilities did you see that led you to make such a decision?
We often change the course of development in various ways while making the title. Regarding Black Ops 4, we saw that even the multiplayer can do storytelling, and that’s why we decided to develop a multiplayer-based game. In regards to the zombie mode, we believe that we can still narrate the story even if it’s not single-player. If they desire, players can also play the mode by themselves, and other characters are replaced with AIs.
Q. I personally loved the zombie mode in the past titles. Will there be more stories added apart from the 3 stories revealed so far?
There’ll be more content added as part of the Season Pass. One more story will be added to the zombie mode as soon as the title is released on October 12th. The story takes place at the Pentagon, US, and the name of the map is Classified. More stories are planned to be added at a later date.
Q. We’d like to know the reason why you combined Pick 10 and Operator modes with the Specialist system.
A good question. If you look back at the time when Specialists appeared in the past title, this was a very interesting system. You could perform strategic plays in multiplayer with different Specialist skills. However, we also noticed that the Pick 10 and Operator system in the past titles were also loved by players. That’s why we decided to combine them all in this title.
As the Specialist and other systems have been combined, the diverse play has also become available. You can now enjoy the new playstyle as Specialists are allowed to use weapons that they were not able to use before. For example, a Specialist named Ruin uses a power weapon with a sniper rifle instead of a grapple gun. You will be able to try out new tactics.
In regards to the Operator mode, one interesting point is that players were given a chance to make their preferred weapons. So, we wanted to give them the same enjoyment in this title as well.
Q. Is the weapon balance set differently between multiplayer and Blackout?
It’ll be different between the two modes. We’ll perform a test with the same balance stats at the start, and adjust the numbers as we go through. We also need to consider weapons that can only be used in Blackout.
Also, we plan to change the stats of a few weapons on PC. A sniper rifle is quite easier to be used with a keyboard and mouse, so we’ll mitigate the damage a little. We’re receiving data through the beta test, and adjusting the balance based on that.
Q. How difficult will it be to unlock characters in Blackout? How long will it take to unlock all the characters?
Well, I can’t be sure exactly how long it’ll take. The difficulty also changes depending on which character it is. When it comes to the unlocking method, you need to kill the target with the weapon called War Machine to unlock a Specialist called Battery in Blackout. You also obtain pieces of cloth in the game, and they become a clue to unlock a certain character. As you can see, you need to hold many items and thus we set the backpack to be spacious enough.
Q. If you take a look at the past Call of Duty installments, the multiplayer has always taken place in small maps rather than big maps. What things did you keep in mind while making the Battle Royale map this time?
We made various attempts while enlarging the map for Blackout. The purpose of Blackout is to create a map that has converged all the features of the Black Ops series. That’s why we wanted to gather all the places in the past series and make a map with them.
The maps are redesigned to be interconnected with each other and they have become a whole new map as a result. It’s made of various maps connected to each other, and we focused on delivering fun to the players. This naturally led the map to become this big.
Q. An additional rule known as Fast Collapse was added to Blackout. Will you implement these additional rules in the actual game?
The new rule in the current beta test was added with the feedback we received. New rules like this will possibly be added as well, and these rules can be added and changed in a short time.
Q. In Blackout, you added zombies as the source of items. Have you thought of any other ways to utilize it? For example, zombies appear at a spot where players camp.
We tested out many ways of spawning zombies in the game. We also thought of zombies appearing after a period of time, and it wasn’t that fun. It is more fun to make them appear at specific spots.
Even though the spots are fixed, we saw more than just looting items at the playtest. Many teams gathered to slay zombies and various other situations came about too. For instance, one team tried to plunder the other team that annihilated a pack of zombies, but the opponent team obtained a rail gun and completely turned the tide of the battle. There are more strategic elements than just looting, and we believe that this will deliver a lot of fun to players.
Q. Why did you make Perks separate usable items in Blackout?
We thought that it was important for all players to start on the same line. We also tested having all Specialists available at the start, and players just picked the one with the most health and it was problematic. We tried to make new skills usable through Perks as well. It’ll be fun if you use skills that couldn’t be used. There is also a Perk that makes you walk silently, and a Perk that makes you loot faster. We think that these will be game changers.
Q. Have you considered making Blackout an esport along with the original multiplayer?
Like I mentioned during the event, we can’t give you a definite answer. However, we expect to unveil relevant details soon.