Vahn responds to controversy over how Blackout characters can be unlocked in Black Ops 4

Keshav Bhat

Back in September, when GameInformer did an interview with Treyarch’s Studio Design Director on all things Blackout, Vahn made a note about how Blackout characters will be unlocked: all characters will be unlocked via missions and quests in the game.

With Operation Grand Heist, things changed when some new Blackout characters are now tied behind Loot Boxes in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

Vahn has taken to Reddit to respond to the claims that he lied in his interview on how Blackout character unlocks would work, and this continues to highlight the tensions between publisher Activision and the owned development studios.

Vahn stated that he has no control over business decisions in Call of Duty, which continues to be a point of conflict over what development studios are saying and what Activision is doing in Call of Duty. Vahn said he has “even less control over” all business decisions in Call of Duty. He even mentioned that on Twitter when asked about making Blackout free to play, saying that those decisions are made several levels above him and his decisions.

Here’s Vahn response to a Reddit post highlight what Vahn said in the GameInformer interview originally:

At the time this interview was conducted, which was previous to shipping the game, that’s precisely and exactly how it worked. If I went back in time and re-did this interview, I’d have to answer it the same way I did then.

Things change along the way … and not all of them are design decisions. Other examples of things that changed since that interview we conducted:

  • Allowing Specialist to be unlocked to anyone without having to quest (based on inputs that players had Cosmetics they had earned, but couldn’t use them in Blackout)
  • Add new characters for Season Pass holders (based on inputs to give Season Pass holders more content)

Those two things were not exactly in the design plans at the time. 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.

SOURCE: Reddit

About The Author

Keshav Bhat is the Co-Founder of, the world's largest Call of Duty news site. Based in Atlanta, Keshav also serves as the Head of Social Media for Dexerto network, running a network of over 10 million social followers. Keshav can be contacted for tips at [email protected]