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This article was updated with additional info at 22:41 BST.
Call of Duty fans have solved an alternate reality game to discover a website counting down to this Friday, August 14.
However, VGC understands that a full reveal trailer for this year’s game, Black Ops Cold War, won’t release until a later date. Friday’s date is instead related to the next step of the game’s ARG, sources said.
It’s also understood that a planned Warzone map update will now take place later in the year. VGC previously reported that the Black Ops’s reveal would coincide with a Verdansk revamp to bring it more aesthetically in line with the game’s Cold War setting.
The slides, which showed various puzzles and were unique to each influencer who received them, first had to be combined to direct players to Black Ops 4‘s Summit map, which they discovered had been updated to feature imagery matching the slides.
Eventually, the summit puzzle pointed to a Cold War-era chess game that took place between Russia and the USA in 1972. When retracing the moves of that game, combined with a Treyarch Instagram story, the website PawnTakesPawn.com was finally uncovered.
The website shows a retro television with the date “08 – 14” and time “12:00”. That date is when the next stage of the Call of Duty 2020 reveal will take place.
The new Black Ops will include its own game modes such as campaign, multiplayer and zombies, but it will also incorporate Warzone like Infinity Ward has done with Modern Warfare, people with knowledge of Treyarch‘s plans told us.
Warzone will continue to run on Modern Warfare’s engine, with development led by long time battle royale collaborator Raven Software, which also created Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode.
VGC understands that Activision will integrate Black Ops content into Warzone, thus combining the franchise’s sub-brands for the first time outside of Call of Duty Mobile.
Last week Activision confirmed that Treyarch and Raven Software are developing Call of Duty 2020, which is scheduled to launch later this year.
It also gave the clearest indication yet that Call of Duty 2020 will be announced via free-to-play battle royale game Warzone, as previously reported by VGC.
In May Warzone kicked off a meta-game which sources indicated would conclude with the unveiling of the next premium Call of Duty game, Black Ops: Cold War.
The game’s marketing plans have been delayed partly by the pandemic, but last week Warzone kicked off the next phase of its in-game puzzle story with the addition of new key cards and a mysterious locked room in the new stadium area.
Developer Infinity Ward recently confirmed that Warzone would tie in with other Call of Duty games beyond Modern Warfare, something Kostich elaborated on last week.
“Modern Warfare and Warzone are obviously very tightly connected, I think that’s really important to the player base, and we plan to do the same with all our upcoming titles as well, our premium titles, to ensure that we can reward all of our players and give them fresh new experiences regardless of whether they choose to just play in Warzone or also play the premium game as well, so the connection will absolutely be there.”