Is it duck season? Rabbit season? Neither: It’s Call of Duty season.
The beta for the latest Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, is just around the corner. But unlike previous Call Of Duty titles, which may or may not have hosted even a single beta period, Black Ops 4 will feature two separate betas.
The first beta, dropping sometime next month, will focus on the game’s more traditional multiplayer modes. And according to Polygon, the beta will have very different operational windows depending on a player’s console of choice, but all players, even those playing on the PC, will get a chance to jump into the beta at some point.
Being the bearer of COD exclusive early deals in the current console generation, Playstation 4 users will be given access a few days early. Their first beta period will begin on August 3rd at 10AM pacific time and end on August 6th at 10AM pacific time. The Playstation 4 and Xbox One then get a second shared beta period that will run from August 10th to August 13th, and PC users also get a single beta period which will be one day shorter than the period given to console users: From August 11th to the 13th.
Black Ops 4 features the return of the “Specialist” hero characters from the previous game, with distinctive ultimate abilities that could be unleashed and had the ability to turn the tide of a battle if utilized skillfully. A few of these specialists will be available in the beta, and the beta will span five game modes: Search and Destroy, Domination, Team Deathmatch, Hardpoint and Control.
The beta will also span six maps. Four of the six have been seen in previous games or promotional material, and two of them are brand-new.
Although the primary beta will only be available to console players who have purchased the game, PC players have access to a special deal: By using a Battle.net account, they can gain access to that extra beta day of August 10th that console players will be accessing, as well as experience the beta without needing to pre-order the game. This is likely a promotional event run with the intent of encouraging more people to download Blizzard’s Battle.net launcher, which might encourage users to purchase and play Blizzard titles and benefit the Activision-Blizzard partnership.
Black Ops 4 will also be hosting a later beta period down the road. This period will give players access to the game’s all-new Battle Royale style mode, dubbed “Blackout.” Many are interested to see what kind of experience a Call of Duty game supplies under the now-popularized Battle Royale format: Is this a cheat attempt by Activision to fold to recent market trends and cash in on the Battle Royale fad, or will Call of Duty’s blackout mode offer a twist on the popular mode that helps advance the genre to new heights?
In addition, there are some murmurs of the PC version getting proper mod support as well. This has the possibility to take the game in some interesting new directions, since the engine will need to be overhauled to handle a map large enough for a Battle Royale game and no major previously released Battle Royale game has offered significant mod support. Custom Call Of Duty: Zombies maps have always been a popular feature in the game’s PC community, so this certainly adds a possibility for much larger zombie experiences in the game’s future.
However, there has been a bit of information about maps being locked behind the purchase of a season pass that many fans are unhappy about.
If nothing else, the newest title seems intent on making some fairly major additions to how the series runs, and fans will have to wait until the game’s beta to see whether most of these changes are for better or for worse.