Rumors that Treyarch is setting up to release Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 this year are starting to solidify thanks to a leak from the unlikeliest of sources.
ESPN’s official NBA Twitter account posted a clip featuring Houston Rockets point guard James “The Beard” Harden walking into the locker room before yesterday’s game against Oklahoma City. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?
However, many fans quickly noticed Harden appeared to be wearing a hat bearing a Black Ops 4 logo. The hat was black with an orange emblem resembling the BO3 Roman numeral, except there was an extra column (IIII).
The Beard has arrived, and he's ready for battle with the Thunder. pic.twitter.com/ky3E8TK9Hy— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 7, 2018
We reported last month that industry insider Marcus Sellars tweeted that the game is coming this year to PC, PS4, Xbox, and even the Switch. Neither Activision nor Treyarch has confirmed this, but Harden’s cap sure seems to indicate that they have at least thought long and hard about a logo.
COD 2018 is Black Ops 4 and is coming to PS4/Xbox/PC/Switch. It is set in the modern times and is boots on the ground. The Switch version will support DLC, HD Rumble and motion controls. The Switch version is also being ported by a company which is familar with COD games.— Marcus Sellars (@Marcus_Sellars) February 4, 2018
Instead of going with a regular Roman numeral 4 (IV) for the logo, the marketing folks are using four I's, making it seem more like hash marks — like the ones you would carve into the butt of your rifle after a kill. Marketing tactics aside, the fact that there is a logo at all (let alone merchandise) is a clear sign that the game is on its way.
Forbes and others are calling the ESPN clip a “Black Ops 4 leak,” but I’m skeptical. To me, this seems more like carefully subtle, but intentional product placement to fire up the Black Ops 4 hype train before it has even been announced. What do you think?