Activision recently unveiled Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to the world, officially confirming the rumors that the upcoming shooter would lack a traditional campaign. Polygon and others reported via their sources that a single-player campaign was originally planned, but it was scrapped when development fell behind schedule.
Following the official reveal, developer Treyarch has stepped forward to address these reports, which they claim are false. Speaking with Eurogamer, Dan Bunting (Co-Studio Head at Treyarch) denied that a single-player mode was scrapped, claiming instead that the game was designed from its earliest stages to be a multiplayer-only experience meant to reflect players’ increasing preference for modes like Zombies.
Eurogamer: I understand there was a campaign you worked on that was scrapped. What challenges did you face in the development of it, and what ultimately led to the decision to ditch it?
Dan Bunting: Going back to the very beginning of Black Ops 4 development, we never had set out to make a traditional campaign. We always started from the place of, we’re going to make something different with this game that was going to be inspired by how our community was interacting with Black Ops 3 and the games over the years. We see more and more players spending more time with multiplayer and zombies, not just in the game, but out of the game, streaming and talking about it in forums. It’s generated a really huge crowd response. The decision was, we wanted to make a different style of game this time.
Throughout the course of development we tried a lot of ideas, a lot of things that challenged convention, that might be a different kind of twist on how we might think of a Call of Duty game in the past, or a Black Ops game in the past. As we did that, some things make it, some things don’t.
The game we’re representing today really represents the best of the ideas that have run through that gauntlet of game development, which is pretty typical for how we do things.
Eurogamer: Just to be clear, you’re saying there was never a traditional campaign?
Dan Bunting: There was never a traditional campaign. We’ve always wanted to tell stories in different ways. We’ve always wanted to celebrate our community, especially how you play the game with friends. The heart and soul of this game is how you play games with friends and we wanted to do more with that than we’ve ever done before.
Bunting also addressed the fact that some fans aren’t happy with the game’s lack of a campaign. To these unsatisfied fans, Bunting says Treyarch has never let them down before and won’t now. Bunting also promised that the game would still feature plenty of story across its multiplayer modes, but declined to elaborate on how that story will be delivered.