Following a premature leak yesterday evening, Activision and Infinity Ward have officially unveiled its next Call of Duty: Modern Warfare-adjacent project: a new standalone free-to-play game called Call of Duty: Warzone. Warzone will host a giant map that houses up to 150 players, and two modes: a mode called Plunder, and a more familiar romp: battle royale.
Its battle royale is geared up to have some big differences from Call of Duty: Mobile's battle royale and 2018's flirtation with the genre, Blackout, which was included with Black Ops 4 and later released as a standalone game on PC. For one, its player pool is a lot bigger, boasting 150 players rather than Blackout's 88-to-100, depending on if you're playing solos or in squads.
The biggest difference is its new "Gulag" system. As detailed in Activision's blog, upon your first death, you're taken to a prison where you await a 1v1 battle with another ill-fated player. The person who emerges victorious is awarded with a particularly special prize: redeployment onto the battlefield. If you lose, you'll seemingly have to sit and wait for your squad to redeploy you via in-game money earned completing "Contracts," objectives across the map that reward players with loot and other perks.
One reward for completing a Contract is seeing where the next circle collapse location will be, and so on. (Sorta like Pathfinder's beacon scanning skill in Apex Legends.) At Buy Stations across the map, players can spend their in-game cash on Killstreaks, Redeploy Tokens, and other items. As for players showing patience if they lose in the Gulag though, just considering how many players quit out of Apex Legends before I can revive their banner, I'm a bit doubtful of others waiting it out.
Vehicles that will appear on the big map, called Verdansk, include ATVs, Tactical Rovers, SUVs, Cargo Trucks, and Helicopters. The trailer showcases someone using a helicopter in a particularly deadly fashion, for instance. Plunder, the other mode included within Warzone, is where completing Contracts for money is the primary focus. Players are in a race to collect the most in-game cash, rather than be the last person standing. In short, in battle royale, cash is more of a perk, while in Plunder, it's your drive to win. It even has the unique mode item Cash Deposit Balloon, wherein players don't need to find a potentially dangerous place to bank their money into.
Despite being a standalone release in addition to being included within the Modern Warfare ecosystem of modes, all progress will remain unified. Progress and items earned in Warzone or vice versa within Modern Warfare's multiplayer or Spec Ops, will be shared between the game—though it's unclear how that would work within a battle royale, where players scramble to find guns in abandoned locales. And if players are new to Warzone and only decide to dip into Modern Warfare after, their progress will carry over as well. Warzone also has no level caps required to play.
This isn't the first free-to-play Call of Duty. Last year, Activision launched Call of Duty: Mobile, which went on to have the most successful mobile game launch in history with 148 million downloads and $54 million in revenue in just its first month. Call of Duty: Warzone, its next free-to-play outing, launches tomorrow, March 10, across all platforms. For owners of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the mode will be available starting at 8 a.m. PT, and the download will only be about 18-22GB. Warzone's standalone, free-to-play release will be available just hours later at 12 p.m. PT, but will be a hefty 83-101GB download for new players. Players will not need to own or download the full version of Modern Warfare in order to dive into Warzone.