2018’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 came at a strange moment for the COD franchise, when team-focused games like Overwatch and the battle royale craze threatened its long-term cultural dominance. Now, a new report from Insider Gaming claims that Black Ops 4 was radically reconfigured late in development because the developers feared it was too much of a departure for core fans.
That lengthy report, stitched together from a variety of anonymous sources, details an ambitious plan to recreate Call of Duty in the image of team-based shooters, particularly Overwatch. This new directive would’ve eliminated well-established series features like scorestreaks and create-a-class in favor of a hero-based system.
A new system called “Escalation” would have slowly buffed the game’s heroes during a match, allowing them to level up and gain new abilities like MOBA characters. As the report notes, this is quite similar to how perks work in the upcoming Modern Warfare 2, and could well have inspired it to some degree. Another planned mode called “War” would have combined the series’ cinematic mission design with an attackers-versus-defenders multiplayer scheme.
However, negative feedback from early playtesters torpedoed these plans, and the multiplayer was reworked into the familiar half-step between old Call of Duty and new. Given that some of the ideas described have been added to subsequent entries in the series in some form, it can’t be called an outright failure. However, it remains to be seen if the reworked perks system in Modern Warfare 2 will please or disappoint the fans. Modern Warfare 2 releases October 28. You can play the campaign earlier than that, though, so check out our guide if you’re interested.
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