It appears Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is making radical changes to the series' traditional DLC model.
Call of Duty's Season Pass/Multiplayer Map Pack formula has been one of the most predictable elements of the series the last few years, much to the vexation of its player base.
Every Call of Duty in recent memory has shipped with three to four DLC packs, all which included a variety of multiplayer and zombies maps, plus some other additional content, at the cost of $10-15 a pop or at a slightly cheaper rate via the Season Pass. But that was the old model. It appears Call of Duty is set to make a major shift to a free post-launch content model.
Speculation and rumors were initially kicked off by comments made by the studio's co-head Dan Bunting, and then were further fueled by the leak of a “Specialist Edition,” which oddly didn't mention of a Season Pass.
Here's the initial comment from Bunting that kicked off everything:
“I can’t tell you at this point in time what [DLC] is going to look like, but I can tell you that we are pushing hard to release content to our fans in a way that’s going to make them happy and a way that we believe is the right thing to do in this stage in our game’s lifespan,” said Bunting (via Polygon)
And here's the leaked Specialist Edition:
Just announced: EB Exclusive Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Specialist Edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, coming 12 October!May 17, 2018
But wait, there's more. Matthew Harris (who previously leaked the game's lack of campaign mode and its new Overwatch-style multiplayer) added that in addition to map packs now being free, they will be more frequent.
"Our sources claim that this is where we will see the most radical shift in the delivery of content. As opposed to players getting the usual four maps every couple of months they will receive a map, or in some cases two maps, every month."
Apparently, Activision and Treyarch are partly making these changes in order to avoid the usual drop off rate that new Call of Duty games see not long after the release of a new DLC pack. It is also likely a response to the industry's shift in how post-launch content is delivered. For awhile, the classic Season Pass model was the go-to method, but increasingly developers have been opting to make post-launch content (new maps, weapons, etc) free, while monetizing elsewhere (lootboxes, skins, etc.).
Lastly, while multiplayer is ditching the Season Pass model, apparently, Zombies will still have one unique to it.
As always, take any information of the non-official variety with a grain of salt. Even if these leaks are true, Treyarch could opt to audible later in development and closer to launch.