The release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is looming and it’s fair to say excitement has reached fever pitch. Big names in the scene are getting together, brands are putting their teams together for the new competitive season and, after the grind of WWII, esports fans are looking forward to seeing their old favourite back on form.
There are a few major changes to the format, the most significant being the move to teams of five, rather than four. Just going off a few of the roster moves we saw in the lead up to release, it seems teams were aware of that before the public was, with players like Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow benched by their orgs, rather than sold, in the knowledge they’d be back for Blops 4.
As mentioned, part of the issue was the way the scene went from Blops 3 and Infinite Warfare, both of which featured advanced movement systems, to a grey, boots-on-the-ground game based around The Second World War. That in itself isn’t the death knell for a competitive title, but the combination of the underwhelming palette and one-dimensional gameplay was not good for Call of Duty at a time when the first-person shooter market has never been more competitive.
Now, the esports scene is gearing up for a revamp, and we’re once more going to see if a huge console title can make a splash in the traditionally PC-dominated space. The battle between the ‘PC master race’ and console players is an old theme in gaming, but even to this day the most dedicated competitive players maintain that PC is king. Can CoD change that?
The thing that has really taken the hype to 11, though, is the battle royale mode - Blackout - added to the game. In what is probably a response to the popularity of games such as Fortnite and PUBG, developers Treyarch is letting CoD players go head-to-head-to-head-to-head-to-head …you get the picture, for the first time.
This means that Call of Duty is not only positioned to dominate the console FPS market, but also challenge Fortnite and PUBG at the head of the Twitch queue, something significantly more exciting if you’re a part owner of Treyarch, for example.
With that in mind, October 12th could end up being a big day for console esports and the world of game streaming, with Blops 4 having the potential to revolutionise both. We already know Dr Disrespect is a huge CoD fan, Ninja has tried it and likes it, so maybe it’s time the battle royale giants started to sweat just a bit, knowing the biggest franchise in gaming is coming for them …