Call of Duty is no stranger to the PC. Previous versions of the game have been available on the platform before this year's Black Ops 4, but Treyarch is putting way more energy behind the PC edition than it has in the past. That means a much larger team is working on this version of the game. There's much more attention to detail, customization and other features specifically for the PC faithful.
As it has in the past, Treyarch enlisted help from Beenox to develop the PC version of Black Ops 4. The Quebec-based studio is another Activision subsidiary and lent a hand on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered as well as Black Ops 3. This time around, though, there's a push to offer more to PC gamers, including the first Call of Duty that will be available on Blizzard's Battle.net.
First and foremost, the team is able to put more effort into fine-tuning the controls for PC. They should feel more natural on the platform, optimized specifically for PC with a high degree of customization. A lot has gone into making the default settings feel good, but there are a ton of options to cater to a wide range of preferences.
"If you want to throw a grenade, you can choose between cooking it by holding the mouse button or as a toggle," explained Beenox technical lead programmer Phillippe Troie. "So you can also click once to start to cook it and click twice to throw it."
That's just one of many examples of how PC gamers will be able to adjust controls to their liking. Options like that run throughout the PC release of Black Ops 4. Troie gave another example of how mouse sensitivity comes into play. When you're using Ruin's grappling hook, the mouse sensitivity won't be slowed down like it is for console thumbsticks. For each specialist, there are configurable controls that PC players will be able to go in an customize.
"Mouse sensitivity is king," Troie said. "It's really an extension of the human body."
In addition to controls, Treyarch wanted to ensure that Black Ops 4 ran well on a range of systems, so that players wouldn't be hampered by a modest setup.
"We wanted to make sure it ran great on the broadest array of hardware," Treyarch co-studio head Mark Gordon explained. "Feeling great and running great were the two high level goals."
To make all of that happen, Treyarch staffed a team much larger than they have before. "A larger team enables us to put more effort into things we haven't been able to do before," Gordon said. The team also sought feedback from another Activision company: Blizzard. They were able to tap into Blizzard's PC expertise for tips on what would or wouldn't work on different hardware.
The features don't stop at customization though. Black Ops 4 will run in 4K HDR and offer an uncapped frame rate. The version playable at the Activision booth at E3 ran above 150 frames-per-second on the company's (very expensive) setup. This Call of Duty will also support ultra-wide monitors up to an aspect ratio of 32:9. Of course, you need your HUD to adjust if you're using one of those fancy displays, rather than having it parked in the extreme corners on the side. On PC, the UI will recenter to accommodate those monitors -- another configuration specifically for this platform. And all of that is in addition the new features in multiplayer, zombie mode and Blackout, the battle royale option in Black Ops 4 players on all platforms can look forward to.
"It's the combination of the Beenox team's passion and availability to work on this and the Blizzard team wanting to partner with us on this game," Gordon explained. "That was what all slotted into place and enabled us to do things this way."
The result of all three teams working together is a new Call of Duty for PC that offers a plethora of customization alongside a number of platform-specific features for gamers to employ. And let's be honest: More options are almost always a good thing.
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