We know there's a new Call of Duty coming out this year, and we can be fairly sure it's going to be called Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War—after all, would a Doritos bag lie to us? Even though the name essentially spoils the big picture of what's in store for players, Treyarch and Activision cooked up a dense puzzle that Call of Duty fans just solved in the hopes of seeing a proper reveal for Black Ops Cold War. Now, we know something is coming on Friday.
Long story short, today's big puzzle led to a new Activision-owned website. The website teases a particular date and time: noon on August 14.
The puzzle kicked off this morning when a handful of Call of Duty streamers and fansites, including CharlieIntel.com, opened up large crates sent by Activision. Inside the crates were vintage projectors, packed in with a few slides. The slides contained images of maps, various letter ciphers, and what looked like satellite photos at first glance.
It took a while for folks to figure out that the satellite photos were actually overhead images of a multiplayer map from Black Ops 4, Summit, that was actually just changed with a recent update. Treyarch also updated its Twitter header image to display the mountains that can be seen on the map. Now, a few screens on the Summit display images that line up with the cipher images, which themselves can be combined to piece together a code.
Streamer NoahJ456 (one of the recipients of the crates) then switched over from Black Ops 4 to Warzone in an attempt to complete the puzzle with a code gleaned from the ciphers. Activision recently confirmed that Warzone will "become tied to" the next Call of Duty—right now, it looks like the bunkers that opened back in May are indeed part of the puzzle linked to Treyarch's next installment, and that further secrets may be hiding within.
After fending off hostile stream snipers in Warzone while also trying to parse out chess notation, NoahJ456 and company found an answer not in the bunker, but online. The url "pawntakespawn," which leads to the date-teasing website, matched up with the chess clue and an image posted to Treyarch's Instagram stories, featuring a row of thirteen blanks with only a "k" filled-in for the center. The puzzle's seemingly solved, at least for now, and there are only a few days left to wait for whatever this reveal (or next step in the puzzle) turns out to be.
There was a moment earlier in the stream where spirits were a bit low. Responding to a fellow streamer's comment about how other games just drop trailers, Noah echoed what lots of cryptographically-disinclined Call of Duty fans are probably feeling right now: "I just want to watch the reveal man, come on!"