Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is doing away with the franchise's traditional season pass. Although the latest Call of Duty is the fourth in a series, Black Ops 4 will be a departure from older titles in several ways. The game will be the first time ever that Call of Duty won't ship with a single player campaign. Though maybe not the highlight of a Call of Duty release, the campaign has always been a notable and star studded addition.
Instead, Black Ops 4 will be a multiplayer-focused entry into the series. The ever popular zombies mode will be present along with an all-new Battle Royale mode. However, the main bread and butter will still be the series' traditional multiplayer. Studio Treyarch plans on supporting that multiplayer for years after the game's release but without the usual extra price tag that accompanies a Call of Duty game.
Gaming Intel reports that multiple sources are saying Black Ops 4 will not have a season pass. The practice of season passes, which bundles together all downloadable content under one price tag, began with Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Since the release of that game, the season pass has become standard practice for the COD franchise and modern gaming in general. For years, almost every multiplayer shooter came with a season pass add-on that was nearly as expensive as the game itself. Black Ops 4 will evidently buck the trend.
The reports are that Treyarch is trying to convince publisher Activision that a season pass wouldn't be a good idea. For the regular multiplayer modes Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will release new maps free of charge. However, there might still be a season pass for the revamped and robust zombie mode. It's unclear if this season pass would be as expensive as the regular one. Previously, the season pass released map packs in waves, including four regular multiplayer maps and one new zombie map. Yet the chances are good that if Black Ops 4 does institute a season pass for zombies it'll be less expensive and/or contain more than just the one zombie map per release.
These reports might want to be taken with a grain of salt, at least for the moment. However the removal of a season pass would make a lot of sense for Call of Duty and Activision. Many multiplayer-focused games have done away with the season pass in recent years. Ubisoft and EA led the charge on this front by not charging extra for multiplayer maps and releasing them free of charge. Even the very controversial Star Wars: Battlefront II was announced, from the very start, to come without a season pass.
Yet fans might not want to rejoice just yet over the development. Battlefront II did do away with the season pass but replaced it with the insidious and widely hated loot boxes. It's not just Battlefront II either. Not charging gamers for a season pass has often resulted in a game receiving loot boxes and microtransactions as a replacement. These mictrotransactions are still a way of getting money out of gamers after they've purchased a game, but they aren't quite as obvious as a season pass.
It would be in Call of Duty's best interest to steer clear of loot boxes and a season pass. The amount of money made by Fortnite: Battle Royale proves that gamers will pay for extra content, even cosmetic content, if the game is generous enough in other ways. Fortnite: Battle Royale is completely free and it doesn't require any money to play. Every purchasable item in Fortnite is cosmetic and the Battle Pass membership (which allows players to earn cosmetics through completing challenges) also deals out virtual currency that can pay for cosmetic content or even a renewal of Battle Pass.
A Call of Duty without an expensive season pass sounds great. However it remains to be seen if Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will follow the positive example of Fortnite or go down the path of the dark side like Star Wars: Battlefront II.
Source: Gaming Intel