Developer DICE and publisher Electronic Arts officially unveiled Battlefield V, less than a week after Activision and Treyarch similarly revealed Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Both games are kings in the shooter arena but are facing more competition than ever before thanks to the explosion in popularity from battle royale action games Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
So, what did each team showcase for their upcoming games which are going head-to-head in the same week in October 2018, and how do their offerings compare? Who is innovating and responding to feedback?
Screen Rant had the opportunity to participate in the announcement events for both the near-future set Black Ops 4 and WWII themed BFV and to go behind-the-scenes and chat with leads at each development studio. Here's a summary of key features, details, and differences between what each game plans to offer games compared to previous installments in each respective series and compared to each other.
On the Call of Duty front, the rumors are true and the developers planned from the beginning of Black Ops 4's development to do something different than a traditional story campaign. There is no single player story campaign in COD for the first time this year though Treyarch tell us that it's just something they've already done and that wouldn't meet their own and fan expectations here. They proved they could do in all of their previous games so instead, their focus on upgrade their game tech and making Black Ops 4 more tactical and social resulted in a larger Zombies co-op mode offering at launch and a brand new feature in their ambitious Blackout battle royale mode. There's no main story in Black Ops 4 or campaign but Zombies mode can be played single-player with bots as allies.
Battlefield V does feature a single player campaign and brings back the War Stories format from Battlefield 1. This mode offers standalone mini campaigns (10 in total) of sorts based on real-life events and scenarios and are character focused (i.e. saving your family instead of the world). BFV's co-op mode can be played solo as well and randomly generates objectives and narrative pieces for replayability.
Battlefield V & Black Ops 4 Co-op Modes: Combined Arms & Zombies
Co-op is king this year and we couldn't be more happier. Fans of the Call of Duty Zombies mode are getting more than ever before on this front with three missions available at launch of Black Ops, ranging from Roman gladiatorial combat to fighting on the Titanic. Icebergs aren't its only weakness...
'Zombies' mode offers more options and customization than ever before meaning players can play with all sorts of modifiers and difficulty settings, as well as ally bots instead of other players, to really craft their own experience and make it more replayable.
And on the Battlefield V side, addressing the daunting nature for some players not feeling to comfortable jumping straight into PvP and bringing back something we've not seen since Battlefield 3, its new co-op missions system called 'Combined Arms' let players build up their "Company" (leveling up and customizing vehicles and soldiers). There are objectives and narrative bits which are randomly generated as well as challenges and rewards associated with this mode where earnings and unlocks are shared between this and regular competitive multiplayer. Players have the choice here to push through to the end, or if you deem it too risky, can extract early.
Both Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's co-op modes support up to four players online. In Zombies, players take on the role of pre-defined characters in its story and in BFV, players use their own soldiers they customize and progress in their 'Company.'
Both Battlefield V and Call of duty: Black Ops 4 bring back their key classic modes to competitive multiplayer with some tweaks and changes, mainly around core gameplay. That means TDM, Domination, Search and Destroy, etc. for Black Ops 4 and TDM, Conquest, Rush, etc. for Battlefield V. There are a few all-new ones too like 'Control' for Black Ops 4 and 'Airborne' for Battlefield 5.
A major change to Call of Duty this year is that Black Ops 4 is doubling down on its Specialists system, taking a page from Overwatch and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, players must each choose a different Specialist for their team and each comes with a unique ability and gear. Competitive multiplayer has also been changed to 5 vs. 5.
On the BFV front, DICE is introducing to key changes like 'War For Attrition' meaning that players respawning aren't already kitted out. Ammo on this front will be limited, and players can no longer simply scan and tag enemies. The environment now reacts to the player and vice versa, meaning crawling through a bush means the leaves and blades of tall grass will move, giving away positions, and running through mud or rough terrain will see the characters move different, even slipping or slamming into a wall to emphasize the weight of a soldier sprinting into cover.
The big question marks, to be answered at E3 and later this year, are around Black Ops 4's Blackout mode which we know includes assets, characters, and vehicles from all of the Black Ops games. This mode aims to offer a unique spin on the battle royale genre but Treyarch wasn't ready to talk details last week. As for Battlefield V, we're dying to learn more about Grand Operations which sees a battle fought across multiple maps and modes as resources and ammo deplete.