With the curtain being lifted on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, there’s a lot to breakdown. On top of a trailer, a number of influencers and journalists saw the game in action to relay some info to the public. So, here’s everything you need to know.
Before we get into the goods, let’s get the basics out of the way. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will release on November 13th, 2020. It’ll be available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. You can buy a $69.99 “cross-gen edition” to start playing the game on your current console and have the next-gen version available once you upgrade. Keep in mind, this only works if you upgrade in the respective console family (PS4 to PS5, for example).
The game will feature a campaign, multiplayer, zombies, and Warzone. A multiplayer beta will take place in October. Alright, now that we’ve got all that out of the way, here’s the juicy stuff.
A direct sequel to Call of Duty: Black Ops with choice, non-linear levels, and customization
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to 2010’s Black Ops. The game follows Woods, Mason, and Hudson in their efforts to track down a Russian operative known only as Peresus. The antagonist has sinister plans that could, as always, bring the globe to the brink of World War III. The campaign takes a lot of cues from that first game with trippy levels, shadowy CIA operations, and more.
You will also be able to create your own character from scratch. That includes gender, name, place of birth, military background, and more. Your gender will also determine your voice in cutscenes and dialogue choices presented in the game. There are a number of choices in the game that control the events of the story, including the ending.
The preview event shown to press included a flashback level to Vietnam where the characters relive their memories in the war. They believe they crossed paths with Perseus in Vietnam and are doing their best to recount the events which include an open-world Far Cry-esque level. You go from multiple objectives, doing different kinds of gameplay such as stealth with a bow and guns blazing action.
The characters begin to trip out as buildings appear, walls crumble, and doors fall from the sky. It’s unclear if the player plays as Mason in this section, which would definitely make sense given his history.
Other levels include a Hitman-style non-linear level where you play as a Soviet double agent in Moscow. You can interrogate people, poison them, frame them, and more. It’s up to you how you want to complete your objectives in this mission. It appears Raven Software will be leading the charge on the campaign this time around.
“It’s an honor to develop an all-new story for Call of Duty: Black Ops players,” said Dan Vondrak, Sr. Creative Director, Raven Software. “Black Ops Cold War picks up right after the original, dropping players into a conspiracy-filled thrill ride set in the 1980s. Fighting alongside fan favorite-characters like Woods, Mason and Hudson, players will battle to uncover the truth. Everything isn’t what it seems, as players choices help shape the outcome of the narrative. We cannot wait for fans to experience it themselves.”
After a big multiplayer reveal, we have all the deets on what Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer will entail. The multiplayer will include all your traditional modes such as TDM, Search and Destroy, Domination, and more. This will allow those who like Call of Duty in its classic form to enjoy just that.
For those looking for a bit of an evolution in terms of the broader scope, there’s plenty of offerings. For starters, we have Combined Arms. This is a 12 v 12 Ground War-esque mode with vehicular combat. You’ll have your typical gun to gun battles with the added chaos of choppers, tanks, snowmobiles, and more populating the maps.
Maps like Armada take place out in the ocean and have battles out in the sea along with boots on the ground combat on wrecked ships. It’ll allow for some incredibly varied gameplay and much more freedom to taking on the opposition.
Next up is Fireteam. Fireteam is four teams of 10 players (40 players total for those inept at math) all competing against each other. Details are a bit scarce with this one at the moment but it sounds like you’ll be fighting over various objectives.
Unlike past Black Ops titles, there will be no pick-10 system. Everyone is granted the same amount of slots, weapons, and perks. You can also equip a wildcard which will allow things like extra attachments, 6 perks, and more. Field upgrades are also carrying over from Modern Warfare and into Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War although they aren’t identical. Dead silence has been removed and is now replaced with the Ninja perk, separate from field upgrades.
Gunsmith also makes a return from Modern Warfare. The beloved weapon customization tool will allow you to equip your guns with up to 54 different attachments. In Modern Warfare, you’d see the differences between attachments as a plus or minus sign but never know the exact difference between two attachments. In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will show you exact differences via percentage changes. This gives you precise, accurate data as to how your gun will be effected by your attachment choices.
Scorestreaks also make a return but you won’t see them reset upon death. This will seemingly be balanced out by increasing the score to earn them. Treyarch also noted there will be cooldowns on them to ensure there’s no streak spams that can be abused by particularly good players. Players who go on killstreaks will also earn bonuses that help them earn those scorestreaks much faster.
A beta will take place on October 8th on PS4 and roll out to other platforms on October 15th. It’ll come to a close on October 19th, just a few weeks before the game’s launch. The beta will also feature cross-play starting on the 15th.
You can only get into the early access portions of the beta with a DIGITAL pre-order. No retailers will be granting beta codes for physical copies this time around. Each beta weekend will open up to everyone at some point to allow everyone to try the game, regardless of a pre-order. You can view the exact dates in the image above.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will include Warzone, the series’ battle royale mode. Details are scarce but Treyarch is working with Infinity Ward (developer of Modern Warfare) and Raven Software to evolve and preserve the continuity of Warzone. Themes, weapons, and operators will be added to ensure the DNA of Black Ops Cold War is implemented into the beloved mode.
On the flip side, Operators and weapon blueprints you’ve earned in the Modern Warfare version of Warzone will still be usable. Those MW items will only be available in the Modern Warfare version of Warzone but you’ll also see inventory items that can be used in both versions of the game. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will also feature free DLC and new battle passes, continuing Modern Warfare’s concepts.
A new leveling system and post-launch battle pass for Black Ops Cold War will allow for some cross-progression.
“At launch, Black Ops Cold War is set to include a brand-new leveling journey that will later connect to Warzone, allowing players to unlock new functional content to be used in both titles. In addition, both games are set to share post-launch seasonal content through the return of the Battle Pass system and the Store,” reads a blog post from Activision.
Cross-play, cross-gen, and cross-progression
Modern Warfare set a new precedent in 2019 with the ability to play with anyone on any platform. On top of this, all of your progress carries between platforms. This is going to continue and even go a step further for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
With the addition of next-gen, players will continue to be able to play together. That means that PlayStation 5 players can play with PS4 and Xbox One players as well as Xbox Series X players.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will take full use of next-gen. From “true 4K” (via CharlieINTEL), ray-tracing, and increased frame-rate, it will be the ultimate way to play the shooter this fall. Both consoles will support those aforementioned features but the PlayStation 5 will have a few extra touches.
Those playing on PS5 will notice the game takes advantage of the new DualSense controller with adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and more. This will truly allow you to feel the power of your gun through your controller.
As for purchasing options, if you opt to switch console families or not buy the game on current gen, the standard edition on next-gen will be $69.99. The game is “backward compatible”. You can put your PS4 disc into the PS5 but it won’t take advantage of the next-gen version’s capabilities such as ray-tracing, increased FPS, and more. You can also insert the PS4 disc into the PS5 to upgrade to a digital version for $10, this disc to digital upgrade will not be on Xbox.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will release on current-gen and PC on November 13th, 2020. It’ll be a launch title on next-gen consoles when those are available as well. Xbox Series X is slated for November while PS5 is simply slated for the holiday season.