People with knowledge of Activision’s plans had previously told VGC that despite considerable successes in free-to-play and mobile, the publisher has no intention of slowing down its annual premium Call of Duty releases.
Yearly Call of Duty releases will continue to be created under the leadership of Treyarch, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer, VGC understands, with this year’s game taking the form of a Black Ops title set during the Cold War.
Free-to-play Warzone will act 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, VGC was told.
Given the rich history of the Call of Duty franchise, it would make sense for free-to-play Warzone to eventually evolve with content from outside of Modern Warfare, rather than having it compete with different battle royale modes for each sub-brand – especially given Warzone now boasts over 50 million players.
However, this is complicated by the fact that Call of Duty studios Infinity Ward and Treyarch are allowed to operate autonomously and have significant control over their own plans.
In the GamerGen interview, Infinity Ward’s Kurosaki gave the clearest indication yet that Warzone will eventually acknowledge other Call of Duty brands, while stopping short of confirming it will integrate them like the series currently does with Call of Duty Mobile.
“We’re in kind of uncharted territories here,” he said. “Call of Duty has been on a very regular cadence for many, many years, and Warzone has made us rethink exactly how best to release new content and how to integrate it.
“Call of Duty is a genre in itself. There are different branches in the Call of Duty tree, but they’re all connected in some ways.
He added: “Warzone will be the through-line that connects all of the different various sub-franchises of Call of Duty. It’s going to be really cool to see how the different sub-franchises sort of come in and out of focus, but Warzone will be the one constant.”
Kurosaki added that because Activision plans to support Warzone for the long term, next-gen console versions of the game are an obvious next move.
“I know that our plan is Warzone is going to be around for quite some time, so as soon as those new systems are out and available I’m sure we’ll support them,” he said.
Warzone has been supported with regular new modes and playlists since its March release. Raven Software’s creative director Amos Hodge told GamerGen that the title will in future introduce new items designed to add to gameplay and the game’s looting dynamic.
“On the gameplay stuff I can tell you that there will definitely be new modes, we’re constantly working on modes,” he said.
“So new modes we’ll be releasing, and we’re working on new content – new items in game that you can put in your loadout. There will be new items to find in BR and Plunder that aren’t in your loadout to add gameplay and a little looting.
“There will be new Field Upgrades for example. So we’re working on new Field Upgrades, new modes, new loot in general that you can get in your loadout to add some new spice to the game.”
In the same interview, Hodge provided an update on the much-requested Call of Duty Warzone Duos mode.