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Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War release date, trailer, campaign and platforms

For a long while, the Call of Duty release schedule was fairly predictable with three Activision studios taking turns putting out projects. Infinity Ward released a game. After that, Sledgehammer followed. Then Treyarch came in. This cycle worked well for a few years until something caused Activision to flip over the table for 2020's Call of Duty title.

It's unclear what changed, but according to Kotaku's Jason Schreier, Treyarch (which last released Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in 2018) is up to bat once again, and is reportedly planning another game in the Black Ops universe. Not much is known about this project yet, but there's still some information circulating.

From release windows and platforms to the setting and battle royale, here's what you need to know about the rumored Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War.

What is the release date for Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War?

A new year means it's time for a new Call of Duty, and Black Ops – Cold War is no different. The announcement of a new release is always quite the event, and we now have the official release date for the game: Nov. 13, 2020. On that date, Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War will launch for current-gen consoles and PC. But what about the PS5 and Xbox One X?

Fans are still waiting on the official release dates for next-gen systems, as the official announcement claims it will arrive on next-gen "when those consoles are available to players." Black Ops – Cold War may not be a launch title, but it can probably be expected pretty quickly afterwards.

Activision has also confirmed that Black Ops – Cold War will have crossplay fully enabled across systems and generations. That includes Zombies too; not just the game's competitive multiplayer modes.

Is there a trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War?

There are actually a few different trailers available for Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War thanks to Gamescom 2020. One looks like an in-game cutscene that reveals several of the major players and talks a bit about the game's story. It might help if you want to learn about why you are shooting thousands of people in this year's iteration of CoD.

Of more interest to most will probably be the reveal trailer. It showcases the setting and tone, shows off several major set pieces, highlights just a few of the hallucinogenic sequences that the Black Ops branch of CoD is known for, and features a pretty killer soundtrack. Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War looks to be leaning heavily into its 1980s aesthetic, when the entire powder keg of the Cold War threatened to explode at any minute. As is generally the case with CoD, you can probably expect a lot of twists and turns, several narrow misses and at least one key betrayal as the campaign careens towards its conclusion.

Will there be a campaign in Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War?

Gamescom 2020 revealed an awful lot about Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War; more specifically, it revealed a lot about the game's campaign. Not only is it confirmed the new CoD will feature a campaign, but it's now known it will be a similar length to past CoD games and will have some fun new wrinkles to play around with.

One aspect that stands out about Black Ops – Cold War is that the campaign will feature some open ended missions. CoD has been criticized in the past for a mission structure that essentially forces players down a corridor, but Cold War will have missions with several different ways to find success. It will also feature branching paths and multiple endings, allowing the players to make choices that will affect the outcome of the campaign. It seems likely that the way players complete certain open ended missions will also influence later missions. It will be interesting to see just how much freedom Cold War offers to players in manipulating the story.

Which platforms will Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War be on?

If you have a current-gen console that isn't the Nintendo Switch — or if you plan on buying a next-gen console sometime in the future — you should be covered for Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War. The game is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and versions are confirmed for both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, as well.

As far as buying the game on current-gen and upgrading to next-gen later, well — that appears to be quite the convoluted process.

As The Verge reports, Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War will release in ten different ways. There are disc versions for the current generation. There are disc versions for the next generation. There are digital counterparts for those disc releases, and Ultimate Edition packages that will release both physically and digitally. Digital current-gen versions can be upgraded to next-gen for $10. Those who purchase a PS4 disc can upgrade to the next-gen version on their PS5 for an extra $10. The Xbox One disc version cannot be upgraded. The current-gen versions of the game will cost $60. The next-gen versions will run you $70. The Ultimate Editions ring up at $90.

You're going to have some decisions to make.

Is Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War a reboot?

There was a lot of speculation as details slowly leaked about Black Ops – Cold War. People thought the game might be a soft reboot of the Black Ops sub-franchise, helping to align the series with Modern Warfare, which went through a similar pruning to help streamline what had become an unwieldy plot over years of games. It was known characters from previous Black Ops games were coming back, but how would it all tie together?

Thankfully, Gamescom 2020 helped to bring everything into focus. Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War is not a reboot, but a sequel. That said, it's a sequel only to the first Black Ops game and, canonically, not to those that followed. Whether that means it completely throws out the sequels is yet to be seen — with this one set in the 1980s, it's possible it just occurs before some of the other games in the series. The Call of Duty franchise has also played fast and loose with the idea of a multiverse, so it's possible that's happening here as well.

Black Ops – Cold War is a sequel that also serves as a gameplay reboot for the franchise — that's all that is known at this point.

What is the setting for Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War?

It's now official that Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War is a sequel to the original Black Ops. The game's trailer has also shown off quite a bit of what you can expect from the setting. Here's what is known so far about where you'll be shooting up baddies.

Black Ops Cold War is set during the 1980s, as tensions during the Cold War had reached a breaking point. Ronald Reagan makes an appearance, and the soundtrack for the trailer is full of 80s new wave hits.

As far as locations you'll get to travel to, Black Ops Cold War's description on Battle.net describes a few. Players will meet "historical figures and hard truths, as they battle around the globe through iconic locales like East Berlin, Vietnam, Turkey, Soviet KGB headquarters and more." Get ready for a globetrotting adventure, and don't forget to bring your walkman.

Which characters will be in Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War?

All the information revealed at Gamescom 2020 also helped fans understand which characters will appear in Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War. As a direct sequel to the original Black Ops game, a few familiar faces will return (although most are voiced by new actors). Plenty of new characters are also joining the cast, and a few real world historical figures will even make appearances.

Much of the story in the new trailer revolves around a villainous Soviet operative known as "Perseus" and a US Intelligence Agent (and dead ringer for Robert Redford) named Russell Adler. These two seem to have quite a history and, as is par for the course in Call of Duty, there are sure to be some dastardly shenanigans at play.

The trailer also features several familiar faces. Alex Mason, Frank Woods and James Hudson all appear, continuing to serve the interests of the United States as they did in the original Black Ops. As far as historical figures go, President Ronald Reagan is eerily recreated in order to give you your clandestine orders, and Reagan's Secretary of State Alexander Haig will also be a part of the proceedings.

Will Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War have character creation?

Gamescom 2020 was the place to be (well, the place to be virtually) if you wanted to learn anything about Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War. Activision blew the doors off of it, and tons of new information dropped. One of the biggest reveals was that the campaign will feature a player-created character, giving you all sorts of options to customize your experience in the newest CoD release.

Not only will you design your character's unique look, but you'll also be able to customize their military background and psychological profile. The last aspect will be especially important, as you'll be assigned points to assign across a variety of different traits, granting your character bonuses and penalties in various areas based on their profile.

Your character is unvoiced, though you'll have certain dialogue options to choose from throughout the campaign. You'll also be able to choose "classified" for various aspects of your character, including your gender.

Will Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War have a battle royale mode?

It surprised some people when Modern Warfare released without a battle royale mode since the Blackout mode introduced in Black Ops 4 was so well received. A few months after Modern Warfare's release, however, players learned the reason why: the battle royale mode called Warzone was being developed as a free to play add-on to Modern Warfare. The free to play aspect was key if it was going to compete with other giants in the genre like Fortnite and Apex Legends. It sounds like Black Ops – Cold War will employ a similar tactic, if rumors are to be believed.

Developer Sledgehammer — who worked on a few Call of Duty games previously and helped to build Warzone — is reportedly building something similar to Warzone for Black Ops – Cold War. According to PCGamesN, it will be a spinoff with open world and battle royale elements, and it will be free to play. It remains unclear whether it will be focused entirely on battle royale or if it will incorporate other modes. There's also no release date, other than the vague "2021" window. That means it probably won't release alongside Black Ops – Cold War, but will come later.

Call of Duty: Warzone will serve as the connection between all CoD titles

Call of Duty's various sub-franchises have been moderately connected over the years, even though the plots of things like Modern Warfare and Black Ops take place in dramatically different settings. According to a recent interview with Infinity Ward Narrative Director Taylor Kurosaki, Warzone will be the connective tissue that links every Call of Duty game together.

Speaking with Gamer Gen, Kurosaki said, "Warzone will be the through line that connects all of the different various sub-franchises of Call of Duty. It's going to be really cool to see how the different sub-franchises sort of come in and out of focus, but Warzone will be the one constant."

From the sound of things, this will allow Warzone to evolve like many other popular battle royale games do, and will give developers a chance to tease upcoming aspects of the Call of Duty franchise. It would also explain some of the weird, Cold War tech that players found in Warzone once the mysterious bunkers finally opened up.

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