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Black Ops 6's Newest Feature Will Change Call Of Duty Forever

Black Ops 6 will have more in common with Max Payne 3.

Two soldiers in futuristic gear slide on a wet floor, firing weapons, with an explosive backdrop, fr...
Treyarch Games

Xbox’s decision to follow up its impressive showcase with a spotlight on the next Call Of Duty was risky. There are few series as reliably safe and consistent in content as Call of Duty, and setting aside 30 minutes to show off Black Ops 6 seemed like an unnecessary overindulgence from a company excited to have gaming’s biggest franchise join their already bountiful portfolio.

But when the time came to show the world what developer Treyarch has been cooking up, giving the new Call Of Duty the same treatment Starfield got during 2023’s Summer Games Fest makes a lot of sense. Black Ops 6 is set to be a landmark game in the franchise thanks to a new feature called omni-movement — a drastic, meaningful change to how Call Of Duty plays.

Omni-movement lets players run in any direction, rather than limiting sprinting to forward movement. The new feature also gives players 360 degrees of motion while laying prone and the ability to automatically turn corners intuitively while aiming down sights. These two changes can be combined with slide maneuvers and dolphin dives, creating an entirely new, more active way of playing. Black Ops 6 will also add “intelligent movement,” Forza Motorsport-like assists for mantling, sprinting, and crouching that can be fine-tuned to the player’s desire.

“Intelligent movement really started with this idea that we want all players to focus on what they want to do, and not how to do it,” said Treyarch associate director Matt Scronce, during Sunday’s showcase.

From what has been shown of the game, the result is that Black Ops 6 plays more like stylish, action-heavy games like Max Payne 3 than like the rigid first-person shooters players have been buying for over two decades. The new freedom of movement gives players more ways to express themselves. The best Call Of Duty campaigns are already endlessly replayable because of how good it feels to play. But adding the ability to bust out a John Wu-like dive, or shoot while laying supine like Bruce Willis in a G.I. Joe can make the series’ signature scripted encounters more dynamic and fun to play.

In multiplayer mode, omni-movement could freshen up the yearly monotony. The new mechanics will surely make things more frantic, requiring players to be more alert from moment to moment considering how many options everyone in a match has. The customizable navigational options, like auto mounting mean leveling the playing field between players who’ve mastered Call Of Duty’s movement meta, and more casual players.

The runandgun, head-on-a-swivel nature of navigating the game’s three-lane maps will also mean Call Of Duty matches may have more in common with the fast-paced arena shooters of the late 90s and early 2000s like Quake and Tribes. It's a surprising direction for the series, but a welcome comparison some 21 years into Call Of Duty’s existence.

Black Ops 6 looks to be a meaningful kick-off to the franchise’s post-Xbox acquisition era.

Treyarch Games

Big changes to Call Of Duty’s movement mechanics have always marked significant points in the series' history. The addition of sliding and dolphin diving were big game changers when they were first introduced in the early 2010s, and quickly became standard in future entries. The addition of exo-suits and nimble navigational moves like the wall run and double-jump may have felt gimmicky to Call Of Duty purists who panned the futuristic entries in the series, but the mechanics heavily impacted how players engaged in multiplayer across several games.

The omni-movement feature is a happy middle ground between the legacy changes. It essentially retains the boots-on-the-ground gunplay that diehard Call of Duty fans prefer, but layers on the more varied movement options and room for player improvisation that entries like Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 innovated.

Black Ops 6 is the first Call Of Duty under the Xbox banner. While the game has been in development for four years, Black Ops 6 is coincidentally the perfect way to kick off this new era for the franchise. Black Ops 6 coming to Xbox Game Pass day one is especially fortuitous as the franchise will be the easiest it’s ever been to play right as Call Of Duty becomes the most mechanically interesting it's been in a decade. These drastic changes are a signal to both hardcore players and lapsed fans that the annual franchise is willing to take a creative risk, especially after the dismal reception and noted lack of innovation in 2023’s Modern Warfare 3.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 is coming to Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and PC on October 25.

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