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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 announced today that the recently teased “Alcatraz” location is an entirely new map for Blackout. Alcatraz launches April 2 on PS4 only with other platforms soon to follow.

Assuming this isn’t an April Fools’ joke, which is unlikely since there’s an official trailer, it comes as a surprise. Treyarch Studios teased the new location by releasing coordinates which corresponded to Alcatraz Island. Thought to be a new point of interest for the original Blackout map, it turns out it’s a whole other map.

Innovating the battle royale genre

Looking at the trailer, it seems as though the Alcatraz map will be one of the smallest among battle royale games. Promoting “close quarters” combat, this map should provide players with an all-new experience when it comes to battle royale. While there’s no official word, players can expect more of a Call of Duty multiplayer experience than a traditional battle royale due to the size of Alcatraz. The term “hot drop” will take on an all new meaning with this map, as there is nowhere to hide and play it safe.

This will surely switch things up for both Blackout and the battle royale genre as a whole. Never before has there been such a small map for players to traverse in any battle royale game. Although, with such a tiny playing field, it is expected that Treyarch will lower the total player count for this map. Anywhere from 40-60 players is the assumed range Treyarch will go with.

Along with the regular aspects of Blackout, there will also be some Treyarch-inspired zombie Easter eggs hidden within the map. The famous “Mob of the Dead” map from Black Ops 2 is based on the Alcatraz prison so there should be several secrets for players to discover.

Blackout is free-to-play in April

While Blackout is a solid battle royale game in its own right, the price tag weighs it down significantly. Pairing it with a regular $60 Call of Duty title didn’t allow Blackout to take off like the other free-to-play battle royales. Many feel that if Blackout released as a standalone, free-to-play game, it would increase both the player count and popularity.

There have been previous free trials of Blackout, but only lasting for a weekend and change. This April, however, Blackout is free-to-play for the entire month. It’s unclear whether or not it will release as a separate download from Black Ops 4, but this is a step in the right direction.

Activision is more than likely using this month as a trial run for the free version of Blackout. If the game has a prolonged spike in activity, the company will take a closer look at making this change permanent. However, if the numbers stay relatively the same, Blackout will likely remain a $60 battle royale game.

What are your thoughts on the new close quarters Alcatraz map? Will you be picking up Blackout now that it’s free-to-play? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure to stay tuned to Daily Esports for all of your future Call of Duty news.