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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 co-op campaign could have been amazing

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 originally had a daring new co-op campaign mode, as revealed by a substantial leak from ahead of Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 co-op campaign could have been amazing: Hudson from Call of Duty Black Ops 4 wears a colourful 90s shirt and purple shades while giving a thumbs up

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may be long forgotten, especially as we speed towards the launch of Modern Warfare 2 and its multiplayer beta, but a treasure trove of leaked documents now reveals that the maligned, multiplayer FPS from Treyarch originally contained an amazing-sounding co-op campaign.

You might remember that, by the time Black Ops 4 launched in 2018, it was largely multiplayer only, incorporating traditional deathmatches, zombies, and the battle royale mode Blackout. However, at one time, the shooter was set to feature a fully fledged campaign, centred around co-op and 2v2 gameplay. And from what we’ve seen, it could have been very good.

In Black Ops 4’s apocalyptic near future, two factions would compete for the final vestiges of Earth’s natural resources: the authoritarian World United Nations, and the upstart Free People’s Army. At the beginning of the campaign, you would select which faction you would like to fight for, and then partner up with a friend online. However, as you battled AI enemies, completed objectives, and finished missions, an opposing pair of players, representing the other faction, would be playing against you.

A typical level would involve some straightforward PvE co-op, but there would be designated areas – a room, a battlefield, a vehicle section – where the gameplay would transition into PvP, as you and your pal went toe-to-toe with the opposing co-op partnership. Depending who won, the narrative of the campaign would branch in different directions, with multiple plotlines and endings available.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 co-op campaign could have been amazing: a drone from Black Ops 4 attacks a ground target in the cut co op campaign

You could earn XP through finishing the campaign, and as well as drafting four complete missions, and characters to represent each faction, Treyarch apparently got so far as planning DLC and additional seasons for the Black Ops 4 “career” mode, before it was eventually scrapped following complaints from testers that it was too repetitive.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 co-op campaign could have been amazing: a player gets ready to mount a vehicle in the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 co op campaign

Some of this information was originally reported by Kotaku back in 2019, but a fresh leak, containing over 400 planning pages, design documents, screenshots, and level maps has just emerged over on Reddit, as initially spotted by Eurogamer. This is another story in what’s turning out to be a good week for leaks and abandoned versions of old games, as we previously covered how the completely lampooned Duke Nukem Forever was ahead of its time, but nerfed before launch.

The Black Ops 4 campaign mode may sadly be dead, but Call of Duty is certainly alive and kicking (and shooting and stabbing) courtesy of the upcoming Modern Warfare 2 – check out our guide on the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer beta release date, and how to access it once it’s launched. There’s also plenty of fun to be had with season 4 of Warzone, but be sure to arm yourself with the best loadout drop. And if you’re feeling fatigued with Call of Duty, maybe try something else from among the best FPS games, or even the best multiplayer games on PC, such as Fortnite and Overwatch.