It feels like ages ago that Call of Duty was the top game in the world, with midnight releases, yearly launches, bombastic campaigns, and massive multiplayer experiences that often made the first person shooter franchise the most notable game of the year.
It’s a crowded field these days, with Fortnite and other shooters vying for attention in the market, but that hasn’t stopped Call of Duty and Activision however from keeping the series fresh and innovative. They struck gold in 2018 when they joined the battle royale trend and turned Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 into one of the best and most innovative Battle Royale’s out there. Then with 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot we saw the franchise go back to its more campaign-based roots.
But on Monday, Activision announced it was getting Call of Duty: Modern Warfare into the free-to-play market with a standalone mode called Warzone. The title, which will be added to existing copies of Modern Warfare on March 10, is a free-to-play multiplayer game supporting up to 150 players with two modes: Plunder and the forever-popular Battle Royale.
According to the game’s lore, the namesake Warzone is part of the game’s in-canon geography.
Warzone takes place in Verdansk, an expansive city with multiple named zones and well over 300 points of interest. Each zone features distinct landmarks like the Gorengard Lumber Yard or the Gora Dam; the zones take place across different environment types like cities and rural areas for unique engagements. Change up your drop location in each match to get a better lay of the land and take advantage of what Verdansk has to offer.
Need to escape the gas in the closing circle or get to another zone? Take a vehicle. Plunder appears to be an objective-based mode with the idea of whoever finishes the game with the most cash wins. You can find cash throughout the map, by eliminating other players, and completing challenges across the map. While Battle Royale is still the same it’s always been. Everyone drops on to a map as the circle slowly closes in. As the map gets smaller the battles become more intense. Last person or team standing wins. This image from Warzone will look pretty familiar if you’ve ever played a certain other battle royale game.
The chance to play a Call of Duty game, with all of its polish, in a free to play environment is certainly an enticing one. And giving players who’ve tackled the latest iteration of the game a new mode is certainly useful, but a free battle royale mode may also entice those who haven’t given Modern Warfare a chance. Activision says Warzone is free and doesn’t require Battle Pass to access, but once you’re in the ecosystem you might find yourself looking for the full COD experience after all.