As confirmed by YouTube channel Chaos, the free-to-play battle royale mode will release as a standalone download and be comprised of two modes – one with respawns and one without – in a trio squad setup, with up to 150 players per match at launch.
The Warzone map is described as “stunning” and “absolutely huge,” with every building in the game world custom designed. It includes brand new areas and incorporates classic series maps such as Broadcast, Overgrown, Scrapyard and Terminal.
Update: Modern Warfare is officially counting down to the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone via an in-game timer.
Update 2: Activision has officially announced Call of Duty Warzone for release on March 10. Watch the first trailer below.
Warzone will be available from 8am PST / 3pm GMT as a one-time early access for Modern Warfare owners, and launch a few hours later around 12pm PST / 7pm GMT, free for everyone.
The free-to-play game will share the same Battle Pass and item shop as Modern Warfare, Activision confirmed.
More than two hours of Call of Duty: Warzone gameplay has been published, to coincide with Activision lifting its media embargo.
Original story continues: As expected, players will be able to use the in-game currency to purchase respawn tokens, killstreaks and gear from pre-defined Buy Stations. Plunder is the only way players will be able to acquire killstreaks.
Warzone features vehicles such as quad bikes, trucks and choppers, while armour is said to have been simplified since Blackout, with plates replacing the various helmets and body armour available in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s battle royale mode.
Also as previously reported, when players die for the first time, they will enter the Gulag for a chance to respawn by winning a 1v1 gunfight against another player. Defeated teammates can also be ‘bought’ back into the game by spending Plunder at Buy Stations.
While Modern Warfare is not required to play Warzone, players who do own the full release will gain access to all of their custom skins and aesthetics.
Warzone will allow cross-platform play and, as first reported by VGC, the Call of Duty battle royale release date is Tuesday, March 10.
“The game is fast,” Youtuber Chaos said of his hands-on time. “I know you’re going to think the opposite of that, with 150 people, with this map which is absolutely massive… but the way they have the gas coming in and the way that the rotation works with the circles… the whole game feels fast. It does not feel like a long, drawn-out ordeal.”
On the game’s novel respawn mechanic, Chaos said: “This was a huge part of the game mode… every game we played, at least one of us would die and then the others would have to go get enough cash to buy us back… We always had a chance.”
Developed in collaboration between Infinity Ward and Raven Software, the highly anticipated battle royale game has been the subject of rampant speculation in the past weeks, fuelled by the discovery of Warzone data within Modern Warfare’s game files.
When its release date arrives, Warzone will instantly unlock for all owners of Modern Warfare via a currently greyed-out menu item, VGC sources have indicated.
The battle royale mode will also be released as a standalone game for free, with the option for players to purchase an ‘upgrade’ to the full version of Modern Warfare.
Warzone will likely share unified progression with the existing Modern Warfare battle pass, with cosmetic unlocks also made available in the battle royale mode.
Much like the series’ successful mobile game, Activision hopes Warzone will attract new players into the Call of Duty ecosystem and keep them engaged with frequent content updates, some of which will be monetised.
It sees Warzone as a more accessible entry point into the Call of Duty series for those who have stopped – or haven’t yet started – investing in the series’ annual releases.