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The first footage of Call of Duty’s new Warzone map has been revealed in a leaked live-action advert for the game’s next season.
VGC can confirm that the work-in-progress live-action spot, which was first shared by Twitter account On Thin Ice, is authentic and shows snippets of the new 1980s Warzone map which we understand will replace the current Verdansk at the end of the season, with an in-game event marking the transition on April 22.
It appears that the new map will be an evolution of Verdansk, rather than an entirely new design.
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“Verdansk is about to heat up in a big way,” developer Raven Software said, alongside a graphic confirming a Warzone map update.
“The situation in Verdansk has hit a critical level. It seems the combat zone has become too dangerous for even a Tier 1 Operator to survive in,” it said.
“Is a conflagration imminent? The answer is still unknown, though it is recommended you clear your schedule for the week and ready yourself for a crescendo of utter chaos within the Warzone. Be certain you’re available for Operation Rapid Sunder throughout Wednesday, April 21 and beyond.
“Armistice Central Command will be communicating directly to all Operators with further instructions, starting at 12 PM Pacific Time on April 21. Return to the Call of Duty blog—and to Warzone—on this date to receive updates.”
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES: The leaked footage shows Cold War-era landmarks replacing Verdansk’s own points of interest, including an in-construction Stadium and an aqueduct replacing the Dam. Airport, TV Station and Downtown can also be spotted with a 1980s makeover.
However, some new locations can also be seen, such as a mineshaft area and what appears to be the Duga-2 Radar Array featured in Black Ops Cold War’s Ashes to Ashes campaign mission.
New Warzone Map: Leaked video
New Warzone Map: Live event set for April
As first reported by VGC in February, at the end of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone Season 2, the battle royale game will finally transition to the new map.
The change will be marked by an explosive in-game event designed to narratively transition Warzone from the Modern Warfare era, to a setting more in line with the most recent premium series release.
Nuclear warheads recently uncovered on Warzone’s map will be used to trigger the revamp, similar to how Fortnite used an in-game event to transition to Chapter 2, with the zombies introduced in the latest season kicking off the countdown.
Warzone’s map revamp has been a long time coming. Originally, Verdansk’s 1980s reboot was due to more closely coincide with Black Ops Cold War’s release last November, but several factors have seen its launch timing moved closer to the game’s first anniversary in March 2021.
“The new Warzone map will arrive after an explosive in-game event designed to narratively transition Warzone from the Modern Warfare era to the 1980s”
New Warzone Map: What should we expect?
The leaked trailer suggests that 1980s Verdansk will feature a mix of new locations, redesigned areas and some which will simply receive a visual refresh in order to take them to the 1980s.
New areas shown in the leaked video include mines, a bridge in place of Dam, the new Array area (pictured below from the Cold War campaign) and a totally revamped Stadium.
The video also confirms that areas such as TV Station, Downtown and Promenade will remain in the new Warzone map with a slight redesign.
It’s also likely Raven Software will take the opportunity to add some quality of life improvements to Verdansk, such as making the areas flow better and look more visually distinct.
New Warzone Map: Release date
The end of Season 2 will be marked with an explosive in-game event designed to narratively transition Warzone from the Modern Warfare era, to a 1984 setting more in line with the most recent premium series release.
Season 3 is due to begin on Thursday, April 22, so expect the limited-time event to take place during the 24 hours running up to that date. Activision‘s ambitions to imitate Fornite’s grand live events are well known, so don’t be surprised if similar stunts take place in Verdansk.
Nuclear warheads recently uncovered on Warzone’s map will be used to trigger the revamp, similar to how Fortnite used an in-game event to transition to Chapter 2, with the zombies introduced in the latest season kicking off the countdown. Maybe players will even get to play as the zombies…
New Warzone Map: Call of Duty WW2 Vanguard
With another premium Call of Duty game due at the end of the year – which we understand is a new Sledgehammer title set during World War II – Warzone likely won’t see a similar revamp to coincide with that game until at least 2022, if at all.
It’s also very possible Warzone could skip WW2 altogether, in terms of a map revamp, and instead focus on coinciding with 2022’s game.
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It’s understood that Sledgehammer’s new game will see a return to the Modern Warfare 2019 engine, ‘IW8’, which also powers Warzone, after last year’s Cold War switched to an upgraded version of Treyarch’s Black Ops 4 technology.
Both Modern Warfare / Warzone and Black Ops Cold War share underlying technology and tools, but otherwise much of the engine used for Cold War can be traced back to 2015’s Black Ops 3.
Last year, sources told VGC that Activision had no intention of slowing down its premium Call of Duty releases, which will continue to be created under the leadership of Treyarch, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer.
Warzone is viewed as a third pillar alongside Call of Duty Mobile and future full-price releases, which will continue to offer a ‘premium’ package of campaign, multiplayer and Zombies/Spec Ops modes going forward.
Given the huge popularity of the free-to-play game, combined with the rich history of the Call of Duty franchise, it makes sense for Warzone to continually evolve with content from each premium entry, rather than creating a different battle royale for each sub-brand.