Warzone needs to stop copying Fortnite events and find its own lane

Warzone needs to stop copying Fortnite events and find its own lane

Warzone has tried a number of crossovers, with the Godzilla x King Kong event coming as Activision’s latest attempt to meld pop culture with the FPS thrills of Call of Duty. Even with a few steps in the right direction, it’s time for Warzone to step aside following the staggering success of Fortnite.

When Warzone launched in March 2020, it was more than just a standard release, offering a hub for players no matter where they are in the world. While this concept is nothing new, Warzone masterfully crafted an experience where community was at the forefront. Having the excellence of Call of Duty’s signature gameplay underscoring everything was a bonus.

Naturally, games evolve and change, for better or worse. In the case of Warzone, there has been an unfortunate descent into uncertainty between the transition from Black Ops Cold War/Modern Warfare to Vanguard. To facilitate that move into a new era, Activision unleashed a wave of crossovers looking to capitalize on Battle Pass content and also use Warzone as a canvas for vibrant events.

From the mixed results of ’80s action heroes to the aggressively average Vanguard “train” event, these crossovers never fully utilize Warzone’s mechanics or setting. It’s fun to roam the battlefield as John McClane or John Rambo, but when their inclusion only extends to middling side quests and a half-hearted attempt to recreate Nakatomi Plaza, it all feels a bit aimless.

an image of godzilla in warzone operation monarch
Activision, Warner Brothers

Operation Monarch could be an important step in the future of Warzone.

It’s not just your average Warzone players who aren’t happy with these crossovers either. Veteran streamers like Dr Disrespect and TimTheTatMan have been unhappy with Activision’s approach to large-scale events. Operation Monarch is the latest crossover event to take place within Warzone, bringing the roaring power of Legendary’s ‘Monsterverse’ to the bullet-riddled shores of Caldera.

Kaiju icons Godzilla and King Kong are now wreaking havoc on Caldera as players look to harness their unmatched powers and hopefully secure massive dub in the process. There is certainly a Kaiju-sized amount of money behind this crossover, but has Activision finally planted its feet in the right direction?

Operation Monarch is a start, but will Activision learn from it?

When you bring two towering titans like Godzilla and King Kong into a game, Warzone or not, the rulebook for realism is instantly thrown out the window. Fortunately, this is where Operation Monarch succeeds the most. With the tropical environment of Caldera ripe for these characters, the developers take a step back and let the game do the talking here. Gone is the extremely boring focus on objectives like stopping a train or avoiding a zombie invasion. The goal is simple: shoot each titan enough to earn Monarch-themed XP and unlock an ultimate weapon to use its powers on other players. It’s a lot less complicated than previous events and proves that sometimes less really is more.

Operation Monarch is all about reveling in the powerful cinematic legacy of its two lead characters. Both titans trample the land and the sea, devastating everything in their path. His distinct sounds translate well to the game, as Godzilla’s bone-chilling roar fills the air with atomic fear. King Kong looks at the surroundings with a merciless gaze, breaking his chest as a call to all who dare to challenge him.

It’s impressive how faithful these epic Kaiju are to the player, as their scale is exceptionally imposing. The thrill of riding a chopper through their collective chaos reduced my squad to adrenaline-fueled fits of laughter. Dr. Disrespect may think the appeal here is for “9-year-olds,” but there’s nothing wrong with embracing the childlike wonder that Operation Monarch has beneath its surface.

an image of king kong in warzone operation monarch
Activision, Warner Brothers

Warzone players can unleash the wrath of King Kong through the SCREAM device.

Operation Monarch is a much more enjoyable experience than previous crossovers, especially since it works within the parameters of the game’s traditional Battle Royale mode.

But despite Activision’s attempts to course correct here, there’s still a feeling that they missed the big picture. Aside from promoting a movie that’s a year old at this point, it’s a shame that Operation Monarch doesn’t allow players to completely break the realms of realism by controlling the titans themselves.

Using their abilities has its moments, but the concept of fully controlling them for a limited time could improve the experience tenfold. Activision has shelled out the money to bring them here, so it would make sense to use these characters to their full potential. Now that it’s Operation Monarch I’d be eager to explore.

It’s missteps like this that allow Epic Games to remain the experts when it comes to blending existing IP into its rival title, Fortnite.

Fortnite is still the true titan of crossovers

It’s easy for gamers most enthralled by Warzone’s gritty aesthetic to dismiss Fortnite’s cartoonish appeal. I used to have that mindset too, viewing Fortnite as a sweat simulator where opponents build skyscrapers, only to humiliate you with a headshot seconds later. But the magic formula of Fortnite has been invented thanks to Epic Games’ precise finger on the pulse of pop culture.

When the Star Wars universe appeared in Chapter 2: Season 1, it marked a changing of the guard for the typical idea of ​​a battle royale. It wasn’t just about making fan-favorite characters available for purchase, it proved that a gargantuan franchise can be seamlessly integrated into the game as a whole.

The genius of Fortnite’s approach to crossovers is the ability to weave recognizable franchises into the lore itself. The island of Fortnite has seen a plethora of heroes and villains fighting to rule with light and dark, and each battle is presented as part of Fortnite’s expansive story.

It’s even better that you don’t necessarily have to follow the story either. Somehow, Donald Mustard and the gang at Epic Games have made crossovers with Ariana Grande, Spider-Man, and Dwayne Johnson feel organic, without alienating gamers in the process. Does X-Men villain Galactus eat the entire Fortnite map too? Amazing.

An image of John Wick in Fortnite
epic games, lionsgate

Dressing up as John Wick in Fortnite is always a good time.

But what about the brilliant social experience that Warzone cultivated in March 2020? Fortnite has that in abundance and then some. Microtransactions will always be frowned upon in games, but the way I see it, Fortnite is essentially a digital toy box. As I swap John Wick for Black Widow, my friends are having fun with their own skin choices. Warzone doesn’t have the same liberties when it comes to breaking the rules of its lore and maybe it shouldn’t either.

Bringing zombies into the Warzone canon of Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War feels out of the question, but if Activision is willing to set up a separate universe from its main entries, that’s where things could get interesting. With this kind of freedom, Warzone has a chance to get truly creative, rather than deliver a fraction of its potential. That’s why Fortnite events are exactly that: events.

Epic Games is currently in the midst of its own Avengers: Endgame-style journey, as heroes like Doctor Strange fend off sinister forces from destroying the island once and for all. The forces in question loom over the map at this point in the game, as the sight of a Star Destroyer waits to attack. It sounds like sheer nonsense to the uninitiated, but it’s Epic Games’ stalwart embodiment of this odd charm that allows Fortnite to succeed where Warzone fails, at least when it comes to crossovers.

Warzone’s evolution isn’t doomed yet

The road ahead for Warzone won’t hit a dead end any time soon. Modern Warfare 2 is set to bring the release of Warzone 2 along with it, which is set to benefit from next-gen consoles more than ever.

The release of Warzone 2 is not only a technological leap for the franchise, it also marks a crossroads for Activision. Will they choose to incorporate blockbuster-sized events on a regular basis or will they be more of a novelty? For Warzone, it would be a wiser choice to focus all efforts on improving the core CoD experience that players have come to appreciate over the last decade.

Modern Warfare 2 (2009) was a milestone not only for the franchise, but also for the FPS genre. To this day, the glory days of late multiplayer sessions and 1v1 matches in Rust are still real. With any luck, lightning could strike twice later this year. For now, Warzone should leave the crossovers to Fortnite.

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