Yesterday's Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 reveal confirmed a lot of rumours about the forthcoming game, but one of the biggest surprises was that the game's PC edition will not be releasing on Steam.
Instead, the game will be available exclusively on Battle.net, and indeed Battle.net users logging in from today will notice the game on the left-hand navigation drop-down. Watching, waiting.
Black Ops 4 is joining fellow Activision mega-release Destiny 2 in appearing on the Battle.net service for its PC iteration. The PC version of the game is being co-developed with studio Beenox, and will take advantage of several Battle.net features including a party system, chat and voice features.
Many of the big publishers are moving into their own distribution networks, with EA housing all of its PC games on their Origin platform, and Ubisoft opening their own storefront with Uplay (although their titles are still available on Steam.) It appears Activision could be investigating this as a future avenue, and we'll have to see how this experiment goes for them after Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launches on the Battle.net platform.
Call of Duty's fanbase has dwindled on the PC over the last decade or so, with the community vocal about the lack of dedicated servers and support for modding. Whether or not some PC usability features like an improved UI and additional adjustments to weapon mechanics to fit in with mouse and keyboard play will bring the audience back remains to be seen.
In addition, the game's first trailer has revealed a battle royale mode that seems to feature a greatest hits collection of fan-favourite maps, characters and weapons from the Black Ops franchise.
The rumoured cull of the single player campaign is also true, with the game's campaign mode getting the push. As one of the very few people who played each year's Call of Duty for the story and the celebrity cameos that often appear within it, i'm sad as a player. As a business decision however though, it seems like very few people were as enthralled with the campaign as i was, and instead the game will feature a battle royale mode, Blackout, which you can see a trailer for below.
Additionally, the game will have several stand-alone missions focussing on characters from within the Black Ops universe. No further details on how that will pan out yet, but the idea of vignettes featuring different characters is reminiscent of Call of Duty's earlier iterations, which hopped between soldiers in different situations to give you different views on a conflict.