I’m No Longer Excited About Black Ops 6 Now That It’s Coming To PS4/Xbox One

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  • Black Ops 6 is set to become the fifth cross-gen Call of Duty release from Activision.
  • The game will likely be very similar across all platforms, wasting the potential of the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X.
  • With Activision supporting old hardware for five years, the studio may continue to do so in 2025 and beyond.

Activision has finally pulled the curtains and revealed Black Ops 6. Not only is this entry marking a return to the beloved Black Ops series, but fan-favorite developer Treyarch is also returning to the scene after a four-year hiatus.

As far as I could tell, there was genuine reason to be excited about this game. My obvious bias for 2020’s Black Ops Cold War aside, the dynamic duo of Treyarch and Raven Software has proven to be quite effective in the past.

With both studios now returning for Black Ops 6, what could go wrong? However, one major red flag has already popped up amid an atmosphere of buzz and excitement.

Black Ops 6 is set to be a cross-gen title, meaning it’ll be released on both the PS4 and Xbox One.

Why it matters: The gaming industry showed promise in 2023 since developers began to step away from cross-gen releases. However, it seems Activision is not keen on following suit.

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Call of Duty’s History With Cross-Gen Titles

Call of Duty has already launched four games on the PS4 and Xbox One.

During the last generation, the gaming giant released just three cross-gen titles, only two of which could be considered true cross-gen releases. Black Ops 3 was heavily modified for the Xbox 360 and PS3, releasing as a shell of its current-gen counterpart.

However, this was done for a reason. The game was quite ambitious since it introduced a co-op campaign to the series after many years, specialists, the gunsmith, and more. In my opinion, Activision is unlikely to release such drastically different versions for last-gen hardware this time.

According to reports, nearly half of PlayStation’s Call of Duty player base resides on the PS4, making it a no-brainer to offer a version with feature parity across the board.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Modern Warfare 2019 Was So Successful Because It Rejuvenated This IP With Fresh Gameplay And Technology

Last-Gen Release, Last-Gen Engine

Unfortunately, this also means that Black Ops 6 will be inherently limited in what it can do. The game won’t be able to offer a major graphical leap, introduce any dynamic elements to spice up the regular Call of Duty formula, or take Warzone to the next level.

Everything in the game will be dictated by the Xbox One and PS4, which will be eleven years old when this title is released. The last time Call of Duty made a major leap in gameplay and technology was in 2019 with Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare reboot.

Since then, each game has relied on the same core technology. Between the similar animations and very familiar core gameplay, Call of Duty has never felt as homogenous as it has in the years between 2019 and 2023.

Black Ops 6 could have brought a much-needed change to this series, but I doubt this can happen with the current cross-gen limitation. Why would Treyarch invest in new technology that would still be limited by decade-old hardware at the end of the day?

COD Black Ops 6
Black Ops 6 May Not Be The Last Cross-Gen Call of Duty Title

Setting A Bad Precedent For The Future

It seems Black Ops 6’s fate is already set in stone, but I’m even more concerned about the future now. If Activision is fine with supporting Call of Duty on the PS4 and Xbox One for five whole years, who’s to say the studio won’t continue this trend in 2025 or even 2026?

As far as I can tell, the publisher knows it doesn’t need to make meaningful changes to the Call of Duty formula to sell the games, so it can keep churning out safe sequels one after another till the PS4 and Xbox One are no longer viable platforms.

At this rate, we may have to wait a few more years to see a fully realized rendition of Call of Duty for the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X. However, Microsoft’s promised Nintendo Switch release could throw another curveball into the mix.

If the Nintendo Switch 2, expected to launch in 2025, becomes the base hardware target for all future Call of Duty games, the franchise would find itself limited by PS4-level hardware yet again.

Therefore, by choosing to skip a current-gen-only release for Black Ops 6, Activision has wasted a huge opportunity. I fully expect an iterative release from Treyarch later this year, and this makes me less than enthusiastic about the IP this generation.

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