UPDATE: In another interview with EuroGamer, Bunting re-iterated the fact that there was no plans to ever have a traditional campaign in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Bunting says he realizes that this change is hard for some fans, but says “Treyarch has never let you down over the years.”
“I think change is always going to be hard for people. I would say to our fans, Treyarch has never let you down over the years. This is a studio you know is always going to deliver the best of the experiences you know and love, especially with the Black Ops series. We are delivering so much more of what players spend most of their time doing in our games in the series.
From the multiplayer, with the way we are going much deeper into the validating new playstyles, so anybody can pick up the game and play it and feel like they can have fun, to zombies and having the biggest content delivery we’ve ever done in a game launch, to our brand new Blackout mode, which is inspired by the battle royale genre but done in our own unique way.”
Dan Bunting, co studio head of Treyarch, spoke with Polygon during the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Reveal Event about their decision to not have a traditional campaign in the title, which is the first time a Call of Duty history that there won’t be one.
Bunting says, despite some rumors and reports, Treyarch never had a traditional campaign in development for Black Ops 4 — it was never part of their plan when they started developing this game.
“When we set out to make this game, we never started with the idea that we would make a traditional campaign,” Bunting told Polygon in an interview today. “That was just not part of our plan. We started from a place that we were gonna make a game that across the board can be playable with friends. That’s been our mission from day one.”
“Of course, through the course of development, as always happens with every game, we’re to challenge our conventions … trying different things. Sometimes those things are bold and crazy and innovative sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t work out. As development goes on though, you’re always pushing the best ideas forward and that’s what was reflected today.”
Bunting says that looking at their own data and how the community interacts with their games, a majority of people play multiplayer and zombies and never end of touching the campaign.
“When I first started on multiplayer in the Call of Duty franchise, 10 percent of our population was playing competitive multiplayer,” he said. “Fast forward to 2015 or 2016, you’re looking at 90 percent of our players are playing multiplayer … If you look at it through that lens, and trying to deliver more for your players and how you’re playing the game, it’s a pretty easy decision. I realize it’s also a challenging decision for other reasons. But we’ve never been ones to shy away from a challenge.”
Bunting then went on to discuss how they plan to support Black Ops 4 for the long run. Treyarch has been known to support their game years beyond release, as evident by Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s continued support. Bunting says they’re going to support Black Ops 4 in ways they’ve never done before.
“[Black Ops 4] is built to be expandable, adaptable, [and] it’s going to evolve over time,” he said. “We’ve gone into this knowing that we’re making a game that can be played with friends across the board and going to be played for a long time to come, many years. We learned that lesson in a big way with Black Ops 3. We didn’t necessarily build Black Ops 3 to be run like that. We just learned, evolved and adapted to run it that way. We’re still not done releasing content for that game.”
“As long as they keep playing your game, we’re going to deliver. And we’re making a game from the get-go that lives on .. expands, and grows and changes and evolves. I can’t tell you what content we’re going to release in two years. I can tell you that we’re going to release a bunch of content in the year following this game and we’re going to support it in ways we never have before.”
In addition, Polygon asked Bunting about how the DLC season could work for Black Ops 4, as Treyarch us focusing on playing with friends and a whole online community experience for the game. Bunting said they are not talking about DLC plans today, but he did state they’re working on plans to make fans happy and the right way to release content at this point in the franchise.
“I can’t tell you at this point in time what that’s going to look like,” he said. “But I can tell you that we are pushing hard to release content to our fans in a way that’s going to make them happy and a way that we believe is the right thing to do in this stage in our game’s lifespan.”