Everything We’ve Learned About Call Of Duty: Black Ops 6


Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 had its big blowout during Xbox’s Summer Game Fest Showcase, and got a focused presentation of its own right afterwards. That show, along with a wealth of previews and interviews that have sprung up in the past few days, have given us a pretty clear picture of all the massive changes and returning features that Black Ops 6 will bring to Call of Duty later this year. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest details we learned about the upcoming shooter:

The kids are calling it omnimovement

Omnimovement is perhaps the biggest addition Black Ops 6 is bringing to the franchise. As part of Treyarch’s push to turn players into full-on action movie heroes, the studio is pushing its animations and radically changing how movement works in Call of Duty. For example, omnimovement will seamlessly grant players a full 360 degrees of movement at any time. That means that they will be able to slide and dive in any direction they want, in a way that’s somewhat reminiscent of Max Payne, though more versatile. Players will be able to do things such as dive forward, turn around in midair and shoot behind them without a labored animation. During the Direct, a player could be seen turning to their side while diving through the air to line up a shot, which could not be done before.

This Modern Warfare 3 Gameplay Feature Spices Up A Weak Campaign

In Black Ops 6, players will also be able to sprint in any direction, which is a radical change from how movement has worked in the franchise before. In other words, you can face forward while sprinting left, right, or backwards, whereas previously you could only sprint in the direction that you were facing. According to Treyarch, this is inspired by the actual movement of operators and soldiers, and the studio felt it had to be included once that was discovered.

Treyarch also looked outside of the realm of shooters for inspiration, and came away from that with a suite of radical new accessibility features that the team’s calling Intelligent Movement. According to Matt Scronce, an associate director at Treyarch featured in the Direct, the motivation behind the system was the team wanting “all players to focus on what they want to do and not how to do it.” To that end, there are three options in menus (sprint assist, mantle assist, and crouch assist) that will reduce the number of inputs needed for the associated actions.

All of these innovations in Black Ops 6’s movement system will be available across every mode in the game, including multiplayer and Zombies.

We’re taking back the 90s

It has been confirmed that Black Ops 6 single-player campaign (which will, unfortunately, need a constant internet connection) will take place in the 90s against the backdrop of the Gulf War and increasing lack of trust in the government. Frank Woods, the tortured legacy character that the Black Ops subseries absolutely refuses to let die, will be back in Black Ops 6 along with a new cast of characters who will be compromised after a mission gone wrong, which prompts them to go rogue and unravel a conspiracy entirely on their own.

Speaking of conspiracy theories…

No, there will not be a 9/11 mission

As reported by PC Gamer, Treyarch shot down the widespread speculation about Black Ops 6 featuring a playable mission taking place during the events of 9/11 earlier this week. Though the Call of Duty franchise has garnered shock and criticism in the past for controversial levels and retellings of certain historical events, it seems like Black Ops 6 will be steering clear of the September 11 attacks, though some believe that they will be alluded to in the game in other ways.

Given the nature of the Black Ops series’ conspiracy-theory-driven stories, you can understand why players and fans might’ve suspected 9/11 would figure into the game. There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories around the events of that day—”jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” originated not as a meme or a joke but an actual belief some voiced in earnest—and I suspect some folks will never really let it go.

Prestige is back

A screenshot of a character in uniform in Black Ops 6. Their get up also consists of a gas mask.

Screenshot: Kotaku / Treyarch / Raven Software / Activision

Call of Duty abandoned its traditional progression systems a while ago, but Black Ops 6 is bringing them back, including the prestige system. Players will be able to rise through the ranks until they eventually reach the max level, at which point they can stay there or reset their progress and embark on the path to prestige. There will be ten prestige ranks to climb through, making for a lengthy progression path, and once players reach the final level of the tenth prestige, they will unlock another 1000 ranks of master prestige to ascend. The most diehard multiplayer fans of Call of Duty will have a lot of levels to burn through when Black Ops 6 releases.

There will be a full multiplayer reveal at Call of Duty Next on August 28, 2024.

Fidelity and detail

Treyarch is broadly upping the fidelity of the series with Black Ops 6, and this includes features such as updated damage models. Previously, character models would take and react to damage across four distinct regions of the body, but Black Ops 6 is upping that number to nine regions now, all with their own bespoke damage and death animations based on the region and the direction from which the damage is being taken.

Players will also dynamically alter the position of their weapons automatically as they are rounding corners. Guns will be pointed in the direction that you are already headed in, making it easier and more seamless for players to acquire their targets without having to manually shift themselves.

Zombies is going back to the basics

Treyarch’s beloved cooperative Zombies mode has been a hotbed for experiments over the years, but Black Ops 6 is bringing things back down to earth. It’s picking back up on the Dark Aether storyline that has driven the mode for the last several installments, and the action will once again be round-based. Zombies in Black Ops 6 will launch with two maps, Liberty Falls and Terminus, and will have a slew of returning mechanics, though the team is hesitant to share too much too early.

According to an interview with Gamesradar+, Liberty Falls will be set in a small Appalachian town and is leaning into the Americana feel that the name conjures with “abandoned bowling alleys, ‘90s diners, and comic book shops.” Meanwhile, Terminus will take place on a “deep and complex map” set on a prison island, and the two maps will be linked by a storyline occurring simultaneously across both settings.

In the past, the Zombies mode had ditched its specific set of characters for generic operators but Black Ops 6 will be reversing course on this. One of the things I loved most about the traditional Zombies experience of my youth was the rich characters and how distinct the mode felt compared to everything else in the Call of Duty package, and it seems like Black Ops 6 is trying to recapture some of this feeling. I’m actually excited to hear as much.

There will be more information around the full multiplayer reveal taking place at Call of Duty Next.

Emphasis on choice and alternative gameplay decisions

A screenshot of characters in Black Ops brandishing rifles, presumably to engage an enemy.

Screenshot: Kotaku / Treyarch / Raven Software / Activision

As has become a bit customary of the Black Ops subseries, the latest installment is once again emphasizing choice in its gameplay scenarios. As Call of Duty continues to attempt to buck linearity, Black Ops 6 is introducing some open-ended levels (as we last saw in the widely panned Modern Warfare 3 campaign) as well as light role-playing aspects. Players will be able to converse and barter with characters throughout the campaign in order to unlock alternative routes through missions. There will also be more traditional choices, such as going in guns blazing or quietly.

Customizable HUD

For the first time in the history of the Call of Duty franchise, the HUD will be completely customizable. The minimap can be placed in different locations on the screen and you can even put your ammo counters in the middle in case you don’t want to look away from your targets. Players have long wanted ways to customize HUDs to best compliment their own playstyles or stream setups, and Black Ops 6 is taking a major step in the right direction with this move.

Black Ops 6 will be a “fresh start for everyone”

Trying to keep track of which Call of Duty games (across the mainline entries every year as well as the constant updates to Warzone) are connected and have crossover feels next to impossible. For example, weapon and operator skins were carried over from Modern Warfare 2 to Modern Warfare 3 the last few years, but none of that will be making the jump to Black Ops 6, according to an interview with IGN. The team doesn’t want there to be confusion that could “break that immersion in that narrative we want,” and will instead focus on bringing new, unique skins tied to the Black Ops universe into the game post-launch.

Black Ops 6 is predictably massive, and there’s still more to talk about, especially how it will factor into Warzone when it launches later this year, and how Treyarch and Raven Software are innovating the multiplayer experience. So far though, Black Ops 6 is making a decent first impression, and might just get me back into the fold.


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