The decision to introduce loot boxes into Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was a predictably unpopular one, not helped by the subsequent decision to lock Blackout characters behind them, but Treyarch explains why the developer is not to blame.
Following the recent Operation Grand Heist update and accompanying implementation of loot boxes, one fan made a post on Reddit chastising Treyarch over a comment made by studio design director David Vonderhaar in a Game Informer interviewer prior to launch. Vonderhaar originally explained that Blackout characters would be unlocked through character missions and game progression, which goes against the Vacation Hudson skin and other Blackout skins that are now available only through Black Ops 4‘s reserve crates.
With so many in the post thread accusing Vonderhaar of lying, the director himself found it prudent to weigh in. Vonderhaar commented on the post, explaining that his information was accurate at the time of the interview, but that certain changes are not always “design decisions,” suggesting the changes in question were the responsibility of publisher Activision. Vonderhaar cites two other examples of such changes, namely the unlocking of Specialists without quests and the addition of characters specifically for season pass holders.
“Those two things were not exactly in the design plans at the time,” Vonderhaar wrote. “It’s a chicken and egg problem. I can tell you what we have done and what we plan on doing, but things change that I can not predict or I didn’t know about. Doubly true with the business side of things which have little insight into and even less control over.
“The alternative (which I’ve considered a lot lately) is just never give interviews, nor answer question. Which is it? I answers the questions as best I can with the information I have at the time I am asked. If time passes and things have since changed… you could accuse me of not being clairvoyant, but a liar is someone who is purposefully trying to deceive you. That’s just not the case.”
In addition to the new content and loot boxes added in the Operation Grand Heist update, Black Ops 4 also saw a massive balancing update that tweaked all three modes.