So 2018’s Call of Duty has rolled out, and all appears to be good; critically and probably commercially too. Actually Activision and Treyarch added a really well received Battle Royale mode that will probably be the new Twitch darling for a little while.
It’s been known for some time that Call of Duty Black Ops 4 wouldn’t have any single player campaign. However I had personally hoped that there would be some meaningful solo PVE content that allowed people not necessarily into PVP to have a reason to play Black Ops 4.
Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case. One Reddit user has researched in detail just how much of the game is available offline. And it isn’t much at all. Basically no Blackout mode and no ‘offline’ progression for either Zombies or Multiplayer. So beyond some basic tutorials there is no reason for someone interested in single player to buy this game. Whilst that’s not a surprise it’s a shame that the developers couldn’t have been more honest and responded in greater detail before the release. The community should not have to provide all the details.
There is a chance the game has more solo content when online but this is probably unlikely (EDIT: it appears levelling at least in Zombies is a thing when solo and online). And whilst there is nothing wrong with this game being multiplayer only, this represents the moment the popular Call of Duty series gave up on single player gamers.
Of course Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 isn’t alone in prioritising online multiplayer. Star Wars Battlefront (2015) and it’s 2017 sequel both have anaemic, barebones solo content. The sequel added a campaign but that wasn’t really what the community wanted. The Battlefield series has a paltry single player mode and no solo content beyond this. Rainbow Six Siege launched with a PVE mode that supported group and solo play but has been abandoned since launch. And the last Halo game had a solo campaign with nothing else for solo players. Would anyone be surprised if Halo 6 ditched the campaign or at least moved towards an online/open world design?
Unfortunately the days of rich solo content when publishers were scared of not shipping meaningful solo modes have gone (Unreal Tournament, Quake series, Rainbow Six Vegas etc.). Publishers of multiplayer first person shooters just don’t care about solo gamers.
So it seems these days first person shooters break down into; story driven or open world (Wolfenstein, Doom, Metro or Far Cry), Live Service (Destiny) or multiplayer (Call of Duty, Battlefield, Rainbow Six, CS:GO) and therefore the solo first person shooter is far from dead. However the multiplayer first shooter is now an irrelevant game type where solo players are concerned. A real shame because it wasn’t always that way and it arguably shouldn’t have to be either. How does that song finish again… ‘There’ll be no single player games sitting on the wall.’