Anybody who’s experienced the Black Ops series has no doubt dropped into an iteration of this classic Treyarch Multiplayer hallmark. A fan favorite, the original Nuketown from Call of Duty®: Black Ops was set in the 1950’s on an undisclosed nuclear testing facility in the American southwest.
The original concept for Nuketown was to create a small map that would place players in fun and frenetic fights. Nuketown was designed to offer all the structure of a full-sized map so players could choose how to engage with each other and maximize time engaged in combat.
The map’s initial popularity encouraged its appearance in every subsequent Black Ops game. Black Ops 2 saw it re-imagined in 2025, as well as in a post-apocalyptic Zombies experience, while Black Ops 3 jacked the chaos up to unseen levels with a near-future take on the map, dubbed Nuk3town.
Through the years, preserving the magic that makes Nuketown, well Nuketown, while infusing fresh creative and visuals has been a fun challenge that always manages to surprise the community. With each iteration of Nuketown, players return to the frenetic combat but are met with different settings and redesigned mechanics that brings new gameplay experiences that they can enjoy.
This all brings us to Black Ops 4. This time, Nuketown takes us to an isolated concealed nuclear launch facility (after all, the Americans weren’t the only ones testing nukes). A soft snowfall has blanketed Nuketown with a fresh coat of powder, with every detail of this frigid facility functioning to transport players into a unique, Russian backdrop.
The Black Ops 4 iteration of Nuketown came about after asking the question: “What if the Russians also had a Nuketown they were using?” Instead of a nuclear test site, this map is built over a fully functional nuclear launch site where nukes are made and maintained. The visuals lean into this setting and aesthetic and culminate in a robust Nuketown experience.
Each building is full of Cold War-era technology, including analog radios, rudimentary satellite imagery, enormous computers and a reel-to-reel film projector, as well as USSR propaganda posters. Interior walls display schematics for tanks, nuclear launch paths and potential targets. Multiple tanks sit “concealed” beneath haystacks both in and outside of the map. To add to the historic feel, the two large vehicles obstructing the center are both Soviet train cars.
The refined, grounded, tactical, silky-smooth gameplay of Black Ops 4 makes this familiar landscape an utter joy to play. The hallmarks of Nuketown are all here: frenetic, frequent close-quarters play in the houses and around the railcars in the center, with long sightlines on either side of the houses. Due to its smaller size, be prepared for some of the most intense, heart-stopping Domination matches of your Black Ops 4 life.
As far as Specialists go, Nuketown’s confined nature brings an added layer of intensity to their abilities and equipment. For example, plant Recon’s Sensor Dart in the right spot and you’ve got intel on nearly a third of the map. Need to traverse dangerous areas in a hurry? Ruin’s Grapple Gun – paired with Equipment Charge in your Gear slot for more frequent uses – gets you where you need to go with no shortage of places to plant.
It’s up to you how you attack Nuketown on Black Ops 4, but the fundamentals are all there: furious gunfights, non-stop action and, if you keep your eyes open, a few secrets to uncover. But, more importantly, it’s free for everybody. So, get in there and enjoy Nuketown!