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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's loot box controversy highlights the tension between developer and publisher


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has loot boxes now – and as the debate about the rights and wrongs of the game’s controversial monetisation continues, we’re getting a sense of the tension between developer and publisher.

Developer Treyarch has come under fire from Black Ops 4’s increasingly disgruntled community over the way the full-price video game tries to make more money out of players. There’s a £39.99 season pass, a Fortnite-style battle pass, cosmetics up for direct sale and, now, loot boxes.

It has emerged new Blackout characters added to Black Ops 4 as part of the Grand Heist operation are locked behind these loot boxes. This means the only way to obtain the coveted Vacation Hudson character, for example, is to buy loot boxes, or grind for reserve items through time played, and hope you hit the jackpot.

In a post on r/Blackops4, redditor lagmademedoit pointed out Treyarch design chief David Vonderhaar had, in an interview with Game Informer conducted ahead of the release of Black Ops 4 last year, said Blackout characters would be locked behind missions and quests. Obviously, this is no longer the case.