Home Gaming Ditching single-player was necessary for Call of Duty Black Ops IIII to “evolve”

Ditching single-player was necessary for Call of Duty Black Ops IIII to “evolve”

2 min read


It’s a weird year for Call of Duty. Say what you like about Activision’s biggest cash cow (Idea: Moo-crotransactions), but sitting down for a weekend and strapping yourself in for the usual action-heavy campaign that knows exactly what kind of game it wants to be? Always a thrill. This year, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII is ditching that approach, doubling down instead on providing more multiplayer and zombies action.

And of course, Blackout. The battle royale entry appears to be solid stuff (thanks Craig for giving me a tour of it), implementing all of the usual ideas of that genre while giving it a Call of Duty flavour. It’s pretty much PUBG, but better, faster and without a clunky UI that makes me want to eat my own face. Still, that single-player campaign will be missed but Treyarch is adamant that it was necessary to chop it off this year as the studio looked to pull a Bear Grylls meme and adapt, improvise and overcome.

“The most important aspect of game development is being able to adapt,” Treyarch co-studio head Dan Bunting said to GameSpot.


If you can’t look at something that you’re doing honestly and say, ‘This thing isn’t good enough’ or ‘This isn’t what we want,’ and ‘We need to make a change.’ If you can’t do that yourself, then you’re not adapting. You’re not going to evolve in a way that’s going to constantly deliver exciting experiences for your fans.

“Development is a journey,” co-studio head David Vonderhaar added.


We try a lot of different ideas and a lot of different things. The game that we are making has evolved over time, and that’s just a part of development. I can’t remember a single game that we’ve made that hasn’t had a dramatic change in the prototyping stage. That’s what prototyping is for. You prototype ideas; some of them work out great, some of them don’t work out great and you pivot. You find a new idea [and] focus on that. We follow the fun.

It’s hard not to see their side on this story. As much as I love the Call of Duty single-player campaign, it is a feature that requires an absurd amount of time and effort to craft for a week’s worth of attention. Call of Duty has always had legs to stand on for months after it launches thanks to the multiplayer and zombies aspect of its structure, and devoting more resources to that isn’t a risky move at all.


Will Black Ops IIII lose a few fans because it focuses on multiplayer far more than single-player? Absolutely, but it’s also going to retain and earn players with its new structure, thanks to modes such as Blackout being a new stab at something familiar. If you’re going to take something away from the formula, at least replace it with something that feels new and fresh.

Something that Blackout seems to be very capable of doing, from what I’ve seen so far.

Last Updated: September 18, 2018


  1. Wont be touching this at launch or for a few good months post launch. I got burned way too hard with WW2


  2. Ghost In The Rift

    September 18, 2018 at 16:07

    Cyberpunk makes Treyach point moot…..and embarrassing if i might say….just don’t want to admit they wana cash in on the “battle royal” cash cow.


  3. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    September 18, 2018 at 18:11

    ha ha, BALLS


  4. Magoo

    September 19, 2018 at 08:08

    My mate and I had the most brilliant epiphany over beers last night. We were thinking that Treyarch or Acti should release an extensive modding client and get smaller devs to build CoD stories. Have an elaborate approval process and sell them for like $5 a pop and take a % commission off of each. They should just refrain from over saturating the space and release maybe 1 per month.


    • Craig Lotter

      September 19, 2018 at 11:13

      It would absolutely work. I loved Battlefield 1’s stories. Self contained mini campaigns that were quite enjoyable. I didn’t buy Battlefield 1 at release, but I did pick it up specifically for the campaign once it received the big new release price drop.


      • Magoo

        September 19, 2018 at 11:19

        BF1 Stories were fantastic. I didn’t take a liking to the multiplayer and ended up back on BF4 like everyone else. But it was still money well spent for the war stories.


  5. Craig Lotter

    September 19, 2018 at 11:11

    Actually I think they’re being a little short sighted here. They are killing the long tail of their product. They will produce more Call of Duty titles. Their core fanbase will move to the next title. At this point they drop the price of the old product in the hope to pick up a few more sales. But of course, the multiplayer part isn’t really filled with players any more, so other than the price it isn’t super appealing to any hardcore shooter fan (because they’ve probably already played it). However, having a campaign changes that. I don’t love online shooters, so I don’t buy any on release. I do however pick them up two or three years later for R100-R150 just to play the campaign. Which truthfully said are almost always quite brilliant and a lot of fun. In a nutshell there is a reason as to why I own the quite frankly brilliant Titanfall 2 but not Titanfall 1.


    • Yondaime

      September 19, 2018 at 11:53

      You sir are a gem just like me. Also, i nearly cried when BT died…dunno what happens after coz i’m still playing…


  6. Gustav Willem Diedericks

    September 19, 2018 at 18:16

    Good. I’ve evolved beyond the Call of Duty franchise.


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