The future of Call of Duty begins with ‘Modern Warfare 2’, ‘Warzone 2.0’

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The future of Call of Duty begins with ‘Modern Warfare 2’, ‘Warzone 2.0’
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When “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” launches on October 28, it will mark a strategic shift for the hit first-person shooter franchise, which will also usher in two new products around the popular battle royale game “Warzone.” .

An entirely new version of “Warzone,” currently sporting the working title “Warzone 2.0,” will debut “shortly after” the release of “Modern Warfare 2” as an extension of that game’s universe, according to publisher Activision. The new version of “Warzone” will reset player progression and inventories, meaning that players’ current skins and weapon blueprints will not carry over to the new game. “Warzone” will also hit mobile platforms on an unspecified date.

“In order to deliver this cutting-edge experience, ‘Warzone 2.0’ will feature new content and systems from ‘Modern Warfare 2’ with new progression and inventories,” Activision said in a statement to The Post. “Today’s ‘Warzone’ will continue as a separate experience that will include a continuation of player progression and inventories within that ‘Warzone’ experience. We can’t wait to share more details soon.”

The company said “Warzone 2.0” will offer “new technology, new features, and new gameplay that work seamlessly together” and, like “Modern Warfare 2,” will be playable on current and next-gen consoles.

Activision did not provide a specific date for the release of “Warzone 2.0”. The past two years, “Warzone” featured a major update in December to align with the current main game.

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Warzone, which debuted in 2020 and now has more than 125 million players according to Activision, is a key part of a new franchise strategy to better align Call of Duty’s many properties and expand its reach. Since the release of “Warzone,” Activision has increased its resources around Call of Duty, with more than 3,000 people now working on the franchise, according to the company.

“Our goal here is not just to shine a light on the Modern Warfare scene and deliver a game-changing transformation in that regard, but also to think much bigger and have much bigger ambition for the future of the franchise,” said Johanna Faries, director of Call of Duty. general manager, she said. “We have a whole new shared vision around ‘Modern Warfare 2’ and how it will relate to the later release of a new ‘Warzone’ experience. And that will be supported by the shared technology and the engine that connects them in a way that we’ve never done before.”

Faries demurred when asked what new gameplay features “Warzone 2.0” would offer, but said player feedback had informed decision-making about the new version. She emphasized that game and server stability was critical to lasting success, along with a continued focus on the game’s anti-cheat initiative. She also noted positive feedback on “Warzone’s” infusion of cultural touchstones, such as a recent event featuring Godzilla and King Kong, as well as the introduction of rapper Snoop Dogg as a playable character.

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As part of the expansion of the franchise, “Warzone” will also come to mobile devices. This will be a separate product from the existing free-to-play “Call of Duty Mobile” game that features a different Battle Royale experience. “Call of Duty Mobile” has been downloaded by more than 650 million users worldwide since its launch in 2019, according to Activision.

“Now we have players who are on the move more than ever,” Faries said. “So just thinking in terms of the mobile lens and bringing a new Warzone experience that we’re really excited about to mobile is a big part of that strategy going forward.”

Going forward, all Call of Duty games will be developed using the same game engine that debuted with the 2019 version of “Modern Warfare.” A newer version of that engine will power both “Modern Warfare 2” and the new “Warzone 2.0.”

“This will be, in many ways, the most advanced engine we’ve ever used for Call of Duty,” said Faries.

Previously, the annual installments of Call of Duty were developed by different studios using different game engines, giving each new title a different look and feel. Players and developers alike have said that they enjoyed the differentiation of titles in the past, despite the lack of consistency. But Faries noted that even with the franchise consolidating around one game engine, new versions of the game will feel different from each other, differentiating installments of, say, Black Ops games from Modern Warfare games.

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“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” will also return the franchise to Steam, Valve’s PC gaming platform and showcase, from Blizzard’s Battle.net service, which is owned by Activision. Faries said that the decision was made to allow more players from around the world to access the game.

“It’s just about showing up where players need and want Call of Duty to show up and making sure they can access the game they love,” he said. Over the franchise’s lifespan, Call of Duty has sold more than 425 million units and generated more than $30 billion in revenue, according to Activision.

That logic around player accessibility could be applied to another platform in the future. With Activision set to be acquired by Microsoft in 2023, there has been speculation as to whether the franchise, which will soon feature 19 core games in addition to the free “Warzone,” will be offered to Xbox’s 25 million Game Pass Service subscribers. Faries declined to comment on that possibility, citing that he was unable to discuss the pending acquisition.

The announcement of Activision’s new strategy for Call of Duty follows a February Bloomberg Report that the franchise would not publish a new game in 2023, which would be the first year without a new Call of Duty game since 2004. Through a spokesperson, Activision declined to comment on that report.

Faries did not specify whether the pattern of synchronization of the “Warzone” experience with the main Call of Duty title of the year will continue or whether “Warzone 2.0” will remain tied to the “Modern Warfare 2” universe.

“We’re very excited to share more details about this new ‘Warzone’ experience, how it expands on the ‘Modern Warfare 2’ universe, but also what that means for the future,” said Faries.

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