Why Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 dropped campaign on last-gen

Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles lack the necessary memory to pull off the game's four-player co-op.

GameSpot staff
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GameSpot staff
2 min read

Call of Duty: Black Ops III's campaign director has spoken out to shed more light on the decision to drop campaign mode for the game's Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. In a new interview, Jason Blundell said the power of the last-generation machines was simply not enough to deliver an uncompromised version of what Treyarch had in mind for four-player co-op. He made his case by citing one example of how the last-gen consoles' memory deficit negatively impacted the overall experience.


"Let's just take a simple system, a really simple one--the weapon that you have," Blundell said in the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine (via GamesRadar). "So it's a co-op game. let's imagine I have my customized weapon and I've made it with a stock and all this extended mag and so forth. For you as a co-op player to see what weapon I have, you have to have loaded in the memory--in resident memory--every single weapon customization. Current-gen memory just can't do that. You'd have to have everything loaded otherwise you just can't see what I'm carrying."

Blundell said it would be possible to "simplify things," but this could have its own downsides.

"I think [Activision] made the right choice because I would hate for people to get an experience that wasn't true to the vision of it," Blundell said. "As the director, I'm incredibly passionate about the experience being a pure experience, that you get what I was trying to have you get."

Activision's official line on the matter, as stated in September 2015, is: "The ambitious scope of the 1-4 player co-op campaign design of the PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions could not be faithfully recreated on old-generation hardware."

In addition, Black Ops III's new Weapon Paint Shop and its new esports-focused tools will only be present on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. These changes will be noted on the game's box.

The multiplayer mode featured in the last-generation versions of Black Ops III includes the game's new movement abilities and new characters, just as it does on current-generation platforms and PC. In addition, the zombies mode, "Shadows of Evil," will be playable in its entirety. However, Activision did not say if multiplayer or Zombies were in any way dialed back for last-generation systems (outside of graphics).

The last-generation versions of Black Ops III--in development at Beenox and Mercenary Technology--will also run at 30fps, compared to 60fps on new-generation systems and PC. Those versions are being worked on by principal developer Treyarch.

Black Ops III for Xbox 360 and PS3 launch on November 6 alongside the new-generation and PC editions. They come with a free copy of the original Call of Duty: Black Ops and sell for $50 instead of $60.

In other recent Black Ops III news, Activision has released an over-the-top live-action commercial for the game starring Michael B. Jordan and Cara Delevingne.