Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is mere hours from launch and the franchise is on the tip of the gaming community’s collective tongue. While yearly installments in the long-running series have sometimes gotten lost in the shuffle of holiday releases in previous years, Black Ops 4 has stood tall in the face of other significant holiday releases. So much so that, according to Nielsen, Black Ops 4 has supplanted Red Dead Redemption 2 as 2018’s most anticipated multiplatform game.
Nielsen’s annual report on video game anticipation ahead of the holiday season plants Activision’s premier first-person shooter at the top with a staggering score of 99, two points ahead of Red Dead Redemption 2. These numbers put both games within the range of “extremely high anticipation.” Other titles that fall within that range on the 2018 list are EA’s Battlefield V (94), Bethesda’s Fallout 76 (92), and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (91).
There are numerous factors pointing to why Black Ops 4 inspires such excitement. The franchise’s return to the Black Ops timeline was key in generating buzz as a majority of the series’ fans hold its campaigns, characters, and gameplay additions in high regard.
While Black Ops 4 won’t include a solo campaign, the inclusion of the new battle royale mode, Blackout, quelled many complaints around its absence. The new addition is even single-handedly influencing the game’s bottom line ahead of release. According to Seeking Alpha, investment firm Piper Jaffray’s projected sales figures for Black Ops 4 jumped from 21.5 million to 23.5 million after the Blackout beta wrapped last month.
The title even seems exempt from the regular amount of complaints surrounding massive day one patches and pre-loading headaches for physical copies of the game. Some of this is due to Activision allowing players to begin pre-loading content two days ahead of its October 12 release date.
No matter the reason why, news of the Call of Duty fan base’s renewed invigoration now sets the stage for a heavyweight bout between itself and Rockstar’s eagerly awaited return to the frontier this holiday season.