Given the success of standalone battle royale games like Fortnite, the inclusion of a battle royale mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was not a major surprise. But its announcement did immediately raise questions about whether that mode, Blackout, would be permanently bundled with the full game. And now, sure enough, Activision is experimenting with separating that content out–though not quite as fully as some might have expected.
Activision has announced the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Battle edition. This is available now exclusively for PC, and it’s essentially a discounted version of this year’s CoD game with the Zombies mode stripped out. What that means is you get access to both Blackout and the suite of standard multiplayer modes. It’s priced at $40/£35, although until January 6, you can pick it up for $30/£27. It’s only sold through Battle.net, Blizzard’s Steam-like client that serves as the home for the PC versions of fellow Activision Blizzard titles Black Ops 4 and Destiny 2.
These are not stripped-down versions of Blackout or multiplayer; you get access to the full modes, just as if you bought the standard version of Black Ops 4. If you go this route but end up wanting Zombies, you can upgrade to the digital standard edition to receive access to that along with 1,100 Call of Duty Points and some digital edition bonuses.
“The Black Ops 4 Battle edition is a great way to bring even more new players into the game and allow them to jump into the incredibly fun Multiplayer and Blackout modes which fans have loved so much since day one,” said Rob Schonfeld, Activision’s senior VP of global digital and mobile commerce.
Black Ops 4 was notable for leaving out the traditional single-player campaign, though the overall package was still strong, as you can read about in our review. Breaking out Blackout appeared to be an inevitable move, not unlike selling the remaster of Call of Duty 4 as a standalone product after it was initially bundled with Infinite Warfare. As for the possibility of a PS4 or Xbox One release of the Battle edition, there’s been no official word yet, but we’ve contacted Activision for a statement and will report back with anything we learn.