Following the behemoth news that Microsoft will be acquiring Activision for $68 billion, it was reported that Call of Duty: Warzone 2 is quietly in the works. The report comes from Bloomberg, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Given the outlet’s track record (and the fact that other sources corroborated it), we’re inclined to believe it.
While there is some precedent to successful live-service games getting sequels, it’s not a usual occurrence. Think of titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Rocket League. Warzone is one of the most lucrative and popular free-to-play games of all time, bringing in over 100 million players since its launch. So, given its success, it might seem odd for Warzone to receive a follow-up, but if you’ve played the game recently, you’ll know the current iteration is in shambles, making a fresh take much more necessary.
Although Activision has yet to confirm Warzone 2, it’s likely happening, and here’s what we know about it.
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One of the few pieces of information from the report is that Warzone 2 will launch sometime in 2023, though a window or exact release date isn’t certain. If history is any indication, it’s possible Warzone 2 will launch in March, around the three-year anniversary of the first game.
The first Warzone game was built upon the foundation of 2019’s Modern Warfare, featuring the same weapons, movement mechanics, perks, and other features. Given that 2022’s mainline Call of Duty entry is supposedly a sequel to Modern Warfare, it’s likely Warzone 2 will follow suit and will be based on that game. Call of Duty 2022 will probably launch around November, while developer Infinity Ward will take a few months to refine its mechanics and gather player data before launching Warzone 2 sometime after that in 2023.
In terms of marketing — including trailers — Activision usually holds details close to the chest until just before the product is set to launch. It didn’t used to be this way, but given the development hurdles introduced with COVID-19, along with specific issues at Activision studios, the company has opted to give itself more time before showing off its games. With that in mind, you shouldn’t expect a trailer for Warzone 2 until it’s closer to launch, possibly a couple of weeks out. It’s likely Activision will tease the new game on social media, or even hint at it within the first Warzone game, but a proper trailer will likely be held until as late as possible, maybe even in 2023.
When it comes to Warzone 2‘s platforms, things get a little dicey. The rumor is that it will be exclusive to new generation hardware, including PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, leaving PS4 and Xbox One behind. Abandoning outdated hardware is normally a common practice, but considering new systems are still hard to come by, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Hopefully, by 2023, it will be substantially easier to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S.
Warzone 2 is literally that… Warzone 2.
Current gen and PC only… No past weapon integrations etc.
A completely new game for the better hardware.
— Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) January 25, 2022
One of Warzone‘s biggest issues in its current state has to do with performance and fidelity, especially on consoles. As we’ve covered before, it’s full of visual bugs that vary from inconvenient to game-breaking, making it hard to play. Console players are also unable to utilize a field of view slider, a feature that has been on PC since day one. The idea is that a new-gen version will alleviate many of those problems.
We don’t expect any major fundamental gameplay changes with Warzone 2, but rather a litany of smaller quality of life improvements sprinkled throughout. Since it will likely be tied to Call of Duty 2022, the implementation of a brand new map is almost guaranteed. In addition, a fresh set of weapons will supposedly be added, cutting ties from any of the previous firearms from the first Warzone. The main point here is that the original Warzone will still be playable and supported — while Warzone 2 will exist on its own, starting players off fresh, without getting rid of anything that came before.
Aside from the slew of bugs in the current version of Warzone, we expect the sequel to correct many design issues from the first installment. These are things like an enhanced pinging system that works more accurately, an updated HUD that contains more details about your team’s resources on hand, a more balanced list of perks to choose from, and fewer, but more desirable weapon options, to name a few. Warzone is plagued with a lengthy list of little issues that make it far less accessible and enjoyable to play and we’re hoping Warzone 2 addresses all or most of them.
One of the biggest issues with Warzone since day one is that it features an overwhelming number of weapons, but only a small handful are actually viable. To make matters worse, the in-game stats aren’t always indicative of how a weapon (and its attachments) will perform, making it hard for players to pick the best loadout. Instead, much of the community relies on YouTubers and streamers to manually test each of the weapons and their attachments. Oftentimes, Warzone’s developer, Raven Software, won’t reveal specific changes made to weapons after an update, meaning these YouTubers have to constantly test everything in the game — a task that becomes harder and more time-consuming as more weapons are added.
Warzone is a multiplayer-only game and we don’t expect that to change with the sequel. However, there are many things Warzone 2 could introduce to make the overall experience more accessible. These are things like a practice mode that features bots with adjustable difficulties and even a faster-paced deathmatch style mode to help players learn the ropes. So, yes, Warzone 2 will almost certainly be multiplayer-only, but that doesn’t mean it has to stick to the layout from the first installment. Even though Warzone is free, it has always felt light in terms of the modes it has available and could benefit from more content overall — possibly even an offline component.
One of the key aspects of a live-service game is the promise of consistent content, which was clearly the focus in Warzone. We expect Warzone 2 to utilize a similar formula, with constant updates that feature new in-game events, weapons, cosmetics, playlists, modes, and map alterations that will keep players coming back. Typically, any additional content tied to gameplay is free, such as new guns or limited-time modes, while cosmetics — such as weapon skins and Operators — cost money.
It’s likely Warzone 2 will implement the seasonal model, wherein each season features a battle pass with 100 tiers of content to unlock, as well, motivating players to keep checking back in. We hope many of the gameplay-related issues are ironed out with this game so the development team can focus on the seasonal content, rather than squashing bugs. Nonetheless, there will likely be a healthy mix of paid and free content to enjoy in Warzone 2.
Since Warzone 2 will likely be a free-to-play game, you won’t be able to pre-order it — at least not in the traditional sense. The first game was a digital-only, standalone release and its sequel will likely be the same. However, it’s possible you’ll be able to pre-load it onto your system, just as you’ve been able to do with past updates.
It’s also within the realm of possibility that Warzone 2 could get a physical release that contains a download code and extra cosmetics, sort of like the Fortnite Deep Freeze bundle, though we wouldn’t count on this being the case. We’ll find out more about the game’s rollout as we get closer to launch.
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