Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: How to unlock new Blackout characters

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 has officially arrived (read our review here), and with it a unique new battle royale experience called Blackout. One of the ways in which Blackout stands out is by allowing players to unlock and play as iconic Black Ops series characters such as Reznov and Mason, among many others. However, in typical Black Ops fashion, the specific methodology for unlocking these characters is left to players to figure out.

If you’d rather skip all the guesswork of unlocking new Blackout characters, this guide should help you out. However, it should be noted that just because you know how to unlock a specific character doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Unlocking new Blackout characters

While perusing the Blackout character menu, you may notice that most of them have an associated ‘character mission’ which must be completed before they can be set as your Blackout avatar. However, the game doesn’t even tell you what those missions are, let alone how to complete them.

As you play Blackout, you’ll eventually stumble across seemingly mundane items which can be added to your inventory. Most of the time these items are found in supply caches which are dropped into a match, but they can also be looted off of dead players or found as world drops in hard-to-reach places. When you pick up one of these items, its associated character mission will trigger, tasking you with completing a series of objectives within the confines of the same match where you found the item.

If you fail to complete all of the objectives, the mission will fail and you’ll have to find the item again in another match if you want another crack at unlocking its associated character. This means that unlocking certain Blackout characters will require a great degree of not only skill but also plain, pure luck. On the plus side, if you see another player using a character-specific avatar, you’ll at least know they’ve earned it.

Character missions also aren’t the only way to unlock new Blackout characters. Certain characters are unlocked by reaching specific Echelon Ranks. The Echelon characters and their associated rank criteria are as follows:

  • Ranger – Echelon 20
  • Frogman – Echelon 40
  • Airborne – Echelon 60
  • Seal – Echelon 80
  • Battle Hardened – Prestige

Purchasing Black Ops 4’s Black Ops Pass also grants access to four exclusive Blackout characters, the first of whom (Black Ops 3’s Shadow Man) is already available. As for the rest, though, you’ll have to get cracking on those character missions.

Blackout Character Missions

As of this writing, not all of the Blackout character missions are active. Treyarch plans to slowly activate more missions over time, but for now just know that you might not be able to immediately find your desired character’s associated mission item. Below, you’ll find all of the currently active character missions along with their associated items and completion criteria.

Multiplayer Specialists

The following multiplayer specialists can currently be unlocked in Blackout.

Firebreak

  • Find the Burned Doll item
  • Kill at least one player using fire-based damage (use the Molotov Cocktail) and finish in the top 15 with the Burned Doll still in your inventory

Ajax

  • Loot the Broken Armor Plating from a dead player who was wearing armor
  • Loot three additional armor plates from dead players (they can be found after you find the initial Broken Armor Plating item) and then finish the match with those three plates in your inventory

Recon

  • Find the I Ching Coins item
  • Avoid being damaged by the Collapse (the environmental hazard that slowly overtakes the Blackout map) and finish the match in the top 15

Battery

  • Find the War Machine weapon (Battery’s signature grenade launcher)
  • Earn multiple kills with the War Machine and finish the match in the top 15 with the War Machine still in your inventory

Crash

  • Find the Poker Chips item (higher chance of appearing in lootable Trauma Cases)
  • Finish the match in the top 15 while holding the Poker Chips and at least 15 different healing items

Torque

  • Find the Note from Torque item (higher chance of appearing in supply caches)
  • Deploy two Razor Wires and one Barricade
  • Finish the match in the top 15

Seraph

  • Find the Annihilator weapon (Seraph’s signature hand cannon)
  • Earn multiple kills with the Annihilator and finish in the top 15

Zombies Characters

The following Zombies characters can currently be unlocked in Blackout.

Dempsey

  • Find the Death Machine item
  • Kill multiple zombies with the Death Machine and finish the match in the top 10

Richtofen

  • Find the Ray Gun item
  • Kill multiple zombies with the Ray gun and finish the match in the top 10

Nikolai

  • Find the Cymbal Monkey item
  • Kill multiple zombies with the Cymbal Monkey and finish the match in the top 10

Takeo

  • Find the Katana item
  • Kill multiple zombies with the Katana and finish the match in the top 10

Scarlett

  • Find the Racing Goggles and Scarf items
  • Finish the match

Black Ops Icons

The following Black Ops series icons can currently be unlocked in Blackout.

Woods

  • Find the Bandana item
  • Fly in a helicopter
  • Finish the match

Menendez

  • Find the Locket item
  • Kill an enemy player with any shotgun
  • Kill an enemy player with a melee attack
  • Finish the match

As of this writing, it’s not yet known how to unlock the below Blackout characters, though their respective unlock missions will certainly be revealed in due time. The multiplayer specialists such as Ruin and Prophet will likely be tied to their associated specialist weapons, similar to Seraph and Battery.

  • Reznov
  • Mason
  • Bruno
  • Diego
  • Shaw
  • Prophet
  • Nomad
  • Ruin