This year’s Call of Duty will be led by Sledgehammer Games and set during World War 2, according to media reports VGC understands to be accurate.
Modern Warzone reported this week that Activision‘s next shooter instalment, due out later this year, would be called Call of Duty WW2: Vanguard. This was later verified by Eurogamer sources and VGC can also corroborate the report.
It’s understood that Sledgehammer’s 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.
The return to the Modern Warfare engine will likely be welcomed by players who prefer the look and feel of the 2019 game, especially as it should make switching between Warzone and WW2 Vanguard’s multiplayer modes feel more consistent.
The decision to use the technology is likely partly motivated by the huge popularity of Warzone, which has amassed over 85 million players as of December 2020, according to Activision.
Call of Duty WW2: Vanguard will likely share weapons and progression with Warzone, like Black Ops Cold War does, but it’s unclear how deep the integration with this year’s game will go, due to both scheduling issues and the significant change in time setting.
As first reported by VGC, next month Warzone’s Verdansk map will finally transition to its second, 1980s-themed iteration, with new locations themed around the Black Ops series.
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 caused its launch timing to slip partway into 2021.
With Sledgehammer’s premium game due out later this year, Warzone likely won’t see a similar revamp to coincide with that game until at least 2022, if it decides to have one 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.
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.