Strange news out of Activision.
Remember the dark, distant past, where a game would be ported down from the 16-bit Sega Genesis/Mega Drive to the 8-bit Master System, and suffer dramatically for it?
The best-case scenario was that the game would be re-tooled to play nicely on the lower-powered console, perhaps at the expense of some visuals or can-be-lived-without-in-a-pinch gameplay features – like being able to collect dropped rings in Sonic the Hedgehog, for example – but other times, the Master System version would either look or play incredibly poorly as a result of the port. Sometimes both.
We all probably thought those days were behind us, but guess what, folks? It feels like it’s 1990 all again!
There will be no Call of Duty: Black Ops III single-player campaign on the previous generation – that’s PS3 and Xbox 360 – versions of the game when it releases next month.
Under a post titled ‘NEW DETAILS FOR PS3 AND XBOX 360 VERSIONS OF CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III‘ on the Activision website, Communications Manager Scott Lowe gave it to us straight:
As we announced back in June, we know that there are still fans waiting to make the switch to the newest console hardware and developers Beenox and Mercenary Technology have been working tirelessly to bring as much of the Black Ops 3 gameplay as possible to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The Black Ops 3 PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will feature Multiplayer and Zombies gameplay only, not Campaign. The ambitious scope of the 1-4 player coop Campaign design of the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions could not be faithfully recreated on old generation hardware.
Well, straight-ish. We imagine there are some pretty pissed off PS3 and Xbox 360 owners out there right now.
To be fair to Activision, they are reportedly bringing a full local co-op experience to the main campaign which, in the wake of 343 Industries dropping the series-staple feature altogether for Halo 5: Guardians is a very good thing, and that will obviously take a lot of hardware grunt to pull off.
The decision to have no Call of Duty: Black Ops III single-player campaign for PS3 and Xbox 360 makes a bit more sense then, when you put it in that context.
But in the same way that Halo fans have been crying out to be given the option to play Halo 5: Guardians at reduced graphical settings to allow for the reintroduction of local co-op, we’re fairly certain that some Call of Duty: Black Ops fans would be happy to sacrifice the co-op options to be able to play the single-player campaign on their PS3 or Xbox 360.
Later on in the announcement, relatively speaking, the following piece of information is included:
Fans should note that other features built to leverage the next generation hardware like the new Weapon Paint Shop and the new suite of eSports tools will only be available on Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
So while there is no Call of Duty: Black Ops III single-player campaign for PS3 and Xbox 360 – effectively leaving you with multiplayer as the main game-mode – there’s also no support for the full ‘new suite of eSports tools’.
Which is a bit of a disaster.
Pre-order Call of Duty: Black Ops III from Amazon now. (On PS4/Xbox One, obviously!)