Information about the scrapped Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 campaign has emerged and based on the leaks, the story mode sounds like it would have been an innovative leap for the series. One aspect, in particular, focused on a 2v2 cooperative live-service element that allowed players to compete against other teams to finish mission objectives, which would change the progression of the story. This would have been a first for the series, but sadly, it never came to be. The idea showed promise, and we’re hopeful it will reemerge in a future Call of Duty game to add some much-needed excitement to the series.
An innovative approach
Black Ops 4 is famous for not including a campaign mode, instead, only focusing on multiplayer. That didn’t stop it from performing well commercially, raking in over $500 million during its opening weekend in 2018. Still, many players felt like it was an incomplete package due to its lack of a proper story mode.
According to Reddit user Purpletoaster20, the Black Ops 4 campaign would have been called Career, with an emphasis on live-service components that tied to the multiplayer mode. As reported by Kotaku, this mode was scrapped due to management issues at Treyarch, the studio in charge of developing the game, along with an overall lack of quality.
The Career mode would have given players an option between two factions: Free People’s Army (FPA) or World United Nations (WUN) — each with opposing objectives, culminating in an interesting competitive co-op experience. Depending on which team finished their objective first, the story would unfold in different ways, offering replay value and variety.
For instance, the opening mission, Air Assault Convoy, required the FPA to escort a group of vehicles through a neutral zone in Ethiopia, while the WUN was tasked with destroying the convoy, offering two different perspectives of the same mission.
In another mission, Data Control, the FPA’s objective was to infiltrate a base to hack into — and defend — terminals, while the WUN was required to plant explosive devices around the base to prevent the FPA from extracting data.
On top of that, there were plans for seasonal content to release periodically after launch, which would have offered additional missions. If executed properly, this would have enticed players to keep checking back in.
A reason to experience the story
Black Ops 4’s Career mode would have been a far cry from the linear, often straightforward, campaigns most Call of Duty games include. The single-player campaigns throughout the series are usually underwhelming and often aren’t engaging enough to get players to try them out — much less see them through to the end.
In fact, in looking at the trophy percentages for Modern Warfare 2019 on PlayStation 4, only 12 percent of players finished the single-player campaign. To put this into perspective, the game reached 30 million copies sold as of September 2020. While this stat only accounts for PS4 players connected to the internet, it’s a decent representation of just how few players actually completed the story mode.
According to the recent leaks, Black Ops 4’s Career mode would have been different enough to motivate more players to engage, especially since it offered XP that carried over to the multiplayer side.
This also would have made the package feel unified, with a shared progression system across Career, Zombies, and Multiplayer. As it stands now, Call of Duty campaigns often feel disjointed from other modes, with little incentive to give them a try, even if they’re of high quality.
It’s unclear if the ideas pertaining to Black Ops 4’s story mode will ever immerge in a future Call of Duty game. On paper, the premise sounded interesting, but evidently, it didn’t come together. It’s unlikely we’ll see anything similar in the upcoming Modern Warfare II, but perhaps Career mode will appear in a later game.
We’d absolutely love to see a riff on Black Ops 4’s Career mode implemented in a future installment because as it stands, the Call of Duty campaigns are in desperate need of a change.