There’s been a new Call of Duty game every year like clockwork forever, so it’s not really a surprise that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is on the way this autumn.
After months of leaks and teases, Activision has finally revealed the game, which is a direct sequel to the original Black Ops, and will be set in the early ’80s.
We’ve mostly seen hints of the single-player campaign so far, but a multiplayer reveal is on the way for 9 September too.
When will the new Call of Duty come out?
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will release worldwide on 13 November, though it’s worth noting that this could vary a little by platform.
What platforms will Black Ops Cold War be on?
The next Call of Duty will release on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and the next-generation PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Current-gen consoles and PC will get the game from 13 November, but the next-gen platforms are still only promised it for ‘Holiday 2020’, since the release dates for the consoles themselves haven’t yet been confirmed.
Will there be a beta?
In a welcome turn, Activision has confirmed that Black Ops Cold War will have an open multiplayer beta, though the company hasn’t yet said when it will take place. Given the November release, October seems like a safe bet.
As an open beta, we’re expecting anyone to be able to take part, but the company has confirmed that anyone who pre-orders the game on any platform will get early access to the beta to test the game out.
It looks like PS4 players will also get in before those on other platforms, but we don’t yet know how the timing will work around pre-orders and PS4 players.
Which version of Cold War should I buy?
Inevitably there are multiple versions of Black Ops Cold War to decide between:
Pre-ordering any version of the game gives you early access to the beta, along with instant access to the Woods Operator Pack, featuring a Sgt. Frank Woods skin, M4 Weapon blueprint, voice quip and finishing move, for Modern Warfare and Warzone.
The standard edition is the only option if you want a physical disc version of the game, with disc options for both current-gen consoles and next-gen (though the next-gen physical versions may end up costing more, this hasn’t yet been confirmed). You will be able to upgrade to next-gen versions, but it looks like you’ll have to pay for the privilege.
For many the cross-gen bundle will appeal most. For £10/$10 more you get copies of the game for both PS4 and PS5, or Xbox One and Xbox Series X. That means you can play Black Ops Cold War as soon as it comes out, while being ready to upgrade to the next-gen version whenever you manage to get one of the new consoles. And yes, all of your progression and saves will carry over. You’ll also get the Confrontation Weapons Pack with two weapon blueprints.
Then the devoted fans can consider the Ultimate edition. Again, this is digital only, but it includes the cross-gen bundle plus the Season One battle pass, and the Land, Sea & Air pack with three operator skins, three weapons, and three vehicle skins.
Watch the Black Ops Cold War trailers
The best place to start is the game’s full reveal trailer, which shows off a mix of cut-scenes and gameplay footage capture on PS5:
If you want to watch the full version of the briefing with CGI Reagan, the Perseus Briefing trailer is basically an uncut version of that scene, and sets the story well:
And then there’s this first cryptic teaser, which hints at the story and offered the official reveal of the title:
What to expect from Black Ops Cold War
First up, the game is being developed by Raven Software and Treyarch, the developer that worked on the previous four Black Ops titles, including the fan-favourite original – to which this is a direct sequel.
Based on the title it’s clear it will be set during the Cold War. More specifically, it’ll take place in the early ’80s, as a long-inactive Soviet agent named Perseus moves back into action, prompting an inevitably aggressive American response.
Perseus is actually a real spy, who was believed to have infiltrated the Manhattan Project and other significant American military weapons programs. Perseus – who was never found – was supposedly mostly active in the ’40s and ’50s, so the game is imagining what his later activities could have been.
“Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War fuses elements of 1980s pop culture through a mind-bending conspiracy story, where deception and subterfuge are the norm in the gripping single-player Campaign,” the official description reads. “In this sequel to the original Call of Duty: Black Ops, players encounter historic figures and learn hard truths as they battle around the globe through iconic locales like East Berlin, Turkey, Vietnam, Soviet-era Moscow, and more.”
“As elite operatives, players attempt to stop a plot decades in the making as they follow the trail of a shadowy figure named Perseus, who is on a mission to destabilise the global balance of power and change the course of history.”
Gameplay-wise that doesn’t give a whole lot away, but it goes on to promise “a wide selection of Cold War weapons and equipment,” so expect equipment to be dated appropriately.
Activision hasn’t revealed much about the multiplayer yet, but we know when it will: 9 September, when it will host a grand multiplayer reveal on the Call of Duty Twitch channel.
We already know that there will be both standard multiplayer and a Zombies mode. We’ve also been promised cross-generation multiplayer, along with integration into Call of Duty: Warzone, including shared progression and new weapons and cosmetics that will be available in both games.
There will be paid Battle Passes for each season, but also plenty of free post-launch content including maps, modes, community events, and Zombies experiences.
While we technically haven’t seen any official multiplayer footage, there is still this old leak of what is allegedly pre-alpha gameplay:
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (COD 2020) Pre-Alpha gameplay. pic.twitter.com/TfnkQzn8Gi
— Julian™ (@TMTJulian_)
June 3, 2020
The clip doesn’t show too much – a player running round what might be a tank factory, with one gun, and no combat – but still, it’s gameplay footage.
This is apparently from a map called Tank – which checks out – but remember that this is pre-alpha. That’s why there are limited HUD elements and very early textures applied to map – the game will look better than this by the time it comes out, we hope.
That map name pops up again in TheXclusiveAce’s leak, which is worth reading in full – though we can’t verify its accuracy.
He claims there are ten multiplayer maps so far, including one for Warzone, with others including ‘Satellite’, ‘KGB’, and ‘Tundra’.
Multiplayer will supposedly be 6v6 by default, with a 3v3 mode under playtesting to replace Modern Warfare 2019’s 2v2 Gunfight.
Other leak highlights include the return of sliding, swimming, and unlimited sprinting, along with Scorestreaks instead of Killstreaks and something similar to Field Upgrades.
Take this all with a pinch of salt of course, but we’ll know more officially soon.