Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes it's just good business. With battle royale games like PUBG and Fortnite Battle Royale currently sitting on the throne of popularity, it was only a matter of time before other game franchises jump on the bandwagon to boost their own sales figures. Sure enough, it is all but confirmed that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is going to feature its own battle royale mode developed by Raven Software. Meanwhile, the game's single player campaign has apparently been scrapped after unspecified development woes, though resources were allegedly diverted to the multiplayer side of the game. While this may seem like a rather unprecedented turn of events, it is far from unexpected.
Modern Call of Duty games offer a solid FPS experience that anyone can pick up and play, and the series' signature Perk and Killstreak system can lend itself relatively well to the battle royale genre. With the right tweaks, Black Ops 4 might be able to offer a more fast-paced and slightly simplified battle royale experience. Killstreaks and Perks can be earned and delivered via air drop in a manner similar to the Care Package Killstreak or even found alongside weapons and weapon attachments. Combined with the ever popular Zombies mode and a traditional set of Call of Duty playlists, Black Ops 4 could be a multiplayer force to be reckoned with. Of course, those who are familiar with both the Call of Duty series and the battle royale genre will point out that the former's fast kill times, tiny maps, and relatively small team sizes are completely at odds with the core gameplay experience that the latter typically offers.
That being said, the question isn't whether or not a Call of Duty battle royale mode could work, but rather if Call of Duty's core audience will bond with the changes that has to come to Call of Duty before a typical battle royale experience can be integrated into the game. For starters, maps must be significantly larger. In addition, most weapons have to be tweaked so that they don't eviscerate someone in half a second, nor should they be able to deliver ultra-accurate sustained automatic fire at long range. Movement speed may also need to be looked at, but this is largely dependent on the size of the maps. In theory, such changes could result in a product that bears some similarity to Overwatch as far as the pacing of the core gameplay experience goes (insert Solider: 76 battle royale jokes here). Coincidentally, this gives some credence to the rumors that early versions of Black Ops 4 were essentially a bland combination of Call of Duty and Overwatch that ultimately fell flat among playtesters. There's always the possibility that Treyarch will just have two different set of "rules" for Black Ops 4, one for traditional gameplay and one for battle royale, but then they run the risk of delivering a very inconsistent experience.
Curiously enough, one of Call of Duty's largest competitors, the Battlefield series, has been suspiciously quiet lately. Since E3 2018 is just a couple of months away, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that EA wants to keep things under wraps until then. That being said, if EA and DICE wanted to, they could easily steal Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's thunder at the largest gaming convention of the year by unveiling their own battle royale mode for Battlefield. Seeing as how the Battlefield franchise is already known for its intense large-scale multiplayer combat, it would be relatively trivial to implement a separate battle royale mode. Such a mode wouldn't be particularly thematic given that Battlefield has always been about two huge teams smashing into each other rather than a couple dozen small teams fighting all over the place, but it's not as if the modern Battlefield games' core gameplay mechanics wouldn't be a good match for the battle royale genre. Plus Fortnite Battle Royale has shown that battle royale games could function relatively well with team sizes of up to 50 people, which just so happens to be the Battlefield series' speciality.
In any case, modern Battlefield games already have bullet drop mechanics, huge maps, relatively large player lobby sizes, vehicles of all kinds, healing and ammo replenishment items, a more methodical gameplay pace, and parachutes in Battlefield, all of which just happen to be a core part of PUBG (and for that matter, many other battle royale games). At the same time, modern Battlefield games also pride themselves on their impressive environmental destruction mechanics, which, needless to say, is a core part of Fortnite Battle Royale. Combine the two and you could create a relatively unique battle royale experience that is unlike anything that its competitors currently offer, yet familiar enough to fans of both the Battlefield series and the battle royale genre that people would have little trouble fitting in regardless of their gaming backgrounds. Unfortunately, you would have to sacrifice the player class mechanics and some of the more wildly powerful vehicles that Battlefield is known for, but there's always normal Battlefield for that. Fortunately, the prospect of fighting in the snow, at night, on the seas, and in the air is always appealing to players of all kinds, so that in itself is an easily marketable feature of a Battlefield game with a potential battle royale mode.
With so little information available about both Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and whatever the next Battlefield game is going to be called, speculation is going to be everywhere for the next couple of months. Regardless, it would seem rather unusual if EA isn't considering all of their options right now, especially after the Star Wars Battlefront 2 debacle. There are plenty of directions that the next Battlefield game can go, especially if EA and DICE wants to revisit the 2142 or World War 2 theme, but if they want to attract a new generation of players, then throwing in a their own version of a battle royale mode couldn't possibly hurt. That Treyarch may be forced to shove Modern Warfare 2 Remastered's campaign into Black Ops 4 to compensate for the lack of a single player mode gives EA and DICE another chance to capitalize on their competitor's mistakes.