Treyarch had a very ambitious idea for the campaign of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 during development, but couldn’t get it to work, according to new report.
In an expose on the work conditions at Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 developer Treyarch, Kotaku shared details about the game’s ill-fated campaign, and the studio’s repeated attempts at salvaging it.
According to the report, the campaign would have mainly been structured around co-op/PvP. It was meant for two players to team up against two other players. As you play through the narrative, certain events will bring you head-to-head with the other faction, which would allow players to fight 2v2 in a campaign, story setting.
Before the start of the campaign, players were free to pick a faction to associate with. Doing this dictates the missions you gain access to, and your place in the narrative. For example, one team would be tasked with protecting a high-value target, as the other team aims to take out said target.
Treyarch also intended for players to be able to switch factions if they didn’t like where the narrative was taking them. The entire campaign could also be played solo, with bots filling in for other players, but Treyarch’s grand plan was to obviously engineer a unique experience.
The team put together a demo for the higher ups at Activision in late 2017. Then, in early 2018, after returning from the holiday break, studio leads revealed to the team that their vision for the 2v2 campaign had been cancelled. The studio cited tester feedback, “timing” and technical challenges as the prime concerns for cancelling.
Now, the team had to salvage what they could from that project to create a more traditional single-player campaign. It didn’t take long for Treyarch to decide that this, too, wasn’t going to be possible giving the game’s early October launch date, which got the studio to cancel the campaign altogether.
Interestingly, the report mentions a similar struggle during the development of Black Ops 3. That game, according to the report, also had an ambitious campaign that would have brought open world to Call of Duty. In that case, the team’s vision was later scrapped for a more traditional single-player campaign.
In both cases, the team had to crunch for weeks and months to make up some of that lost time.