Today at Activision’s Call of Duty reveal event we learned a lot about this year’s entry in the long-time blockbuster series, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII. We can now confirm there will not be a single-player campaign; instead, there will be a heavy focus on narrative in the Zombies mode and a brand-new take on the now ubiquitous battle royale format in ‘Blackout’ mode.

All Multiplayer All the Time, Now with Steampunk

The long-rumoured but before now confirmed announcement to start the reveal off was that Black Ops IIII will not include a single-player campaign, instead consisting of the traditional competitive multiplayer content as well as very in-depth “experiences” for the Zombies mode, each one set in a completely different time and place from the main game, starring a band of time-traveling heroes. The first two shown off were “IX” and “Voyage of Despair,” which believe it or not feature gladiators and steampunk swashbucklers, respectively. No really, watch the lengthy, gorgeous trailers:

As confusing as these choices may seem, the idea of purchasing a Call of Duty game and getting multiple story-based, cooperative games within that is immensely interesting to me, and the creativity on display borders on inspiring, so I’m excited to see how these come out.

Battle Royale, of Course

Yes, Call of Duty is cashing in on Battle Royale modes, but at this point why wouldn’t you? The mode will be called Blackout, and the developers are emphasizing that the map will be “1500 times bigger” than the classic Call of Duty map Nuketown. It will also feature “characters, weapons, equipment, and parts of favorite maps drawn from throughout the history of Black Ops—including the cast of Zombies,” writes PC Gamer. There isn’t a lot more information out there, but there is the prospect of the polished gameplay and budget of a Call of Duty game being brought to the world’s current favorite game genre.

There were even more details from the reveal event, including overhauls to the weapon system, player loadouts, and traversal mechanics, the return of Specialists from other entries in the series, and the use of Blizzard’s Battle.net infrastructure to handle multiplayer servers. One gets the sense that even after the disappointing performance of 2016’s Infinite Warfare, Activision was encouraged by the comparably excellent sales of last year’s Call of Duty: WWII, and so is willing to let Treyarch continue experimenting with the venerable series formula. We’ll learn more about how it all pays off in October when Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII releases, or maybe even sooner when the private beta starts soon for pre-order customers.

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