It sounds like this year’s ‘Call of Duty’ is getting some major changes, including a ‘Fortnite’-inspired ‘Battle Royale’ mode — here’s what we know so far

Another year, another “Call of Duty” game. Sometimes it’s set in the past, sometimes it’s set in the future – the only constant is the franchise’s annual release schedule.

By Thanksgiving, every year, there’s a new “Call of Duty” game on the shelves.

Call of Duty: WWII

Last year it was “Call of Duty: WWII,” as seen above – a throwback to the many previous “Call of Duty” games set during the events of World War II.

And this year, it’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.” Little is known about the game – it’s clearly set in the spinoff series of “Call of Duty: Black Ops” games, it’s got a firm October release date, and it’s coming to the usual places (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC).

But this week, several reports emerged that paint a picture of what to expect from this year’s big “Call of Duty” game. And it sounds more like “Fortnite” than “Call of Duty.”

1. “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” is reportedly getting a “Battle Royale” mode along the lines of “Fortnite: Battle Royale” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.”

Pictured: ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.’ PUBG Corp.

If you haven’t heard of “Fortnite: Battle Royale” or “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (“PUBG”) yet, the premise is simple: 100 unarmed players parachute to an abandoned island that’s rife with weapons and supplies, and whoever survives is the winner.

The mode has completely taken over video game culture, with everyone from celebrities to major game streamers to your kids playing either “Fortnite” or “PUBG.”

It sounds like “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” is getting a mode along those lines, according to reports from various media outlets this week. “Raven Software has reportedly been tasked with adding a Battle Royale mode to ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4,'” a report on “Call of Duty” news site Charlie Intel says. Eurogamer backed up that report with its own sources, and added a bit more information.

“Our source said [“Call of Duty’s”] Battle Royale mode may not hit the magic 100 player mark seen in other Battle Royale games at the time ‘Black Ops 4’ comes out, but developers are working towards that number,” the Eurogamer report states.

Expect Battle Royale to show up in a lot more major games this year.

‘Fortnite’ has a distinct, cartoon-inspired art style. Epic Games

If you’ve been paying any attention to video games in 2018, you’ve assuredly heard of the “Battle Royale” phenomenon. First popularised by “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” then catapulted into stratospheric success by “Fortnite: Battle Royale,” the genre has exploded in popularity as of late.

It’s so popular, in fact, that video game industry analysts are predicting a slew of copycatting from the biggest game publishers in the world. “While we have yet to see direct competitive modes from our publishers under coverage, we fully expect [Activision, Take-Two Interactive, EA], and virtually everyone else to come up with their take on the ‘Battle Royale’ genre,” Macquarie Capital analysts Benjamin Schachter and Ed Alter wrote in a note in early April. They also expect major publishers to build “some version into key known franchises, as well as potentially releasing various other stand-alone titles” in the “Battle Royale” genre.

If these reports are accurate, then “Call of Duty” is the first major franchise to adopt the burgeoning, explosively popular “Battle Royale” mode.

2. “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” may be multiplayer-only, with no main story campaign.

Last year’s ‘Call of Duty’ game had a campaign focused on the 1st Infantry Division as they fought across the Western Front in World War II. Sledgehammer Games/Activision

The “Call of Duty” series is known for two things: Blockbuster single-player campaigns and highly replayable multiplayer.

It sounds like that’s being cut in half in the case of “Black Ops 4,” with a traditional single-player campaign being scrapped altogether.

“As ‘Black Ops 4’s’ release date approached, it became evident that development on the single-player campaign wouldn’t be completed,” a report on Polygon says, which is attributed to multiple anonymous sources working on the game.

Reports on Kotaku, Eurogamer, and CharlieIntel all corroborate Polygon’s piece; it sounds like a series of co-operative missions are intended to stand-in for the traditional campaign, though it’s not clear if they will end up in the game that ships this October.

Some context: If the reports are accurate, this would be the first-ever “Call of Duty” game without a traditional single-player campaign.

Kit Harington — the King of the North himself, Jon Snow, of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame — played the villain in ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.’ Activision

Much of the annual draw for fans of the “Call of Duty” franchise is the endlessly replayable multiplayer modes. New entries in the series bring updates to the multiplayer – new maps, new guns, etc.

For lots of other folks, the game’s single-player, blockbuster story campaign is a major part of the annual “Call of Duty” experience. Which celebrity will make a cameo this year? How over-the-top can they make it?

Kevin spacey call of duty

That’s why it’s such a surprise to hear that this year’s game may not have the traditional single-player campaign that the series always had in the past.

It sounds like “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” will feature the popular Zombies mode, which is sort of a story mode unto itself, but it’s not an outright replacement for the traditional campaign.

What we know for sure: We’ll learn more about “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” during a game reveal event on May 17.

Other than this logo and a brief teaser video, there are no images of ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ just yet. Treyarch Studios/Activision

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” was announced in a peculiar way: NBA star James Harden wore a hat bearing the logo seen above, which led to speculation about a forthcoming announcement.

A day later, “Call of Duty” publisher Activision sent out a press release confirming the game’s name and announcing a May 17 reveal event. There’s also a release date: October 12. As usual, the game is coming to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

But that’s it – at least officially – thus far. An Activision representative told us, “We don’t comment on rumour and speculation. We look forward to revealing Black Ops 4 on May 17th.”