Call of Duty: Black Ops III on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 won’t include a story campaign but only the game’s online multiplayer and zombie modes, Activision announced on Friday.
With a large chunk of the game missing, Black Ops 3 will retail for $49.99 on the PS3 and Xbox 360 instead of the $59.99 price of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions when it releases on Nov. 6.
The decision to cut the story mode was made due to the divide between the hardware power of current and last generation consoles. Activision said the “ambitious scope” of the game’s new cooperative campaign of up to four players, with the feature being included for the first time in the franchise, limited development on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The publisher claimed the campaign “could not be faithfully recreated on old generation hardware.”
Other features of the game like the Weapon Paint Shop to customize guns and eSport tools won’t be included in the PS3 and Xbox 360 release either.
“Shadows of Evil,” the new game’s take on the zombie mode set in 1940s noir, will still be included on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Those versions will also still have the new Specialist class of nine different soldiers in multiplayer that each have their own loadout of special weapons and abilities.
The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will come with a downloadable version of Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010).
Without a dedicated single-player mode, Xbox 360 owners won’t be able to play most of the game at all without an Xbox Live Gold subscription, since it’s needed to play online multiplayer on the console. PlayStation 3 buyers can still play Black Ops 3 without any restrictions, since the console doesn’t require a paid PlayStation Plus subscription unlike on the PS4.
When Activision revealed Black Ops 3 in April, the publisher didn’t announce the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions at that time. It later confirmed those releases in June. Those versions were originally intended to include only a two-player co-op campaign mode instead of up to four players like on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
While Treyarch is developing the game, Beenox and Mercenary Technology are working together on porting the last generation versions. Beenox developed Spider-Man: Edge of Time (2011), The Amazing Spider-Man games (2012,14) and handled various ports for Activision. Mercenary Technology assisted in the development of several Activision-published games in the last few years.
The previous game in the franchise, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, released last November for all systems and still included the full campaign mode on all platforms.
Black Ops 3 will be the first game in the series to have both a full co-op campaign and up to four people playing together. Call of Duty: World at War (2009) has a two player co-op mode set in a World War II campaign, but some levels are still limited to only one player.
Black Ops 3 is the follow-up to Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II, released in November 2012. It’s also the 11th game in the franchise on Xbox 360 and 10th for the PS3 since 2005. PlayStation platforms will get timed-exclusive downloadable content like new online multiplayer maps before Xbox owners.
As the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One moves into this cycle’s third holiday season, the last generation of consoles continues being phased out, with major games not getting releases, losing features or having development handled by a separate studio. Warner Bros. canceled the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Mortal Kombat X last month, which had already been delayed multiple times. Like with Black Ops 3, a different team was also working on those versions. Other popular franchise releases like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain still recently launched with last-gen versions, at a lower price of $49.99.