In addition to the release, early footage from the game (allegedly recorded at an Activision-hosted preview event) found its way online Monday morning from YouTuber Chaos, apparently ahead of the official embargo time. The footage was quickly removed from YouTube, but we managed to compile details through early views of the video, sources like Reddit and other YouTubers who ripped the footage. It showed much of what Activision later confirmed in its press release, in addition to a few other tidbits.
The game will also be introduced as part of Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare, where mode select screen now has a countdown timer that will zero out at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday, March 10.
Read on below to find out everything we observed from the, apparently accidental, YouTube reveal and what was listed in Activision’s release.
It’s free to play and cross-platform
Warzone comes at no extra cost, and you won’t need Modern Warfare to play. It’s a standalone experience that differs greatly from Blackout, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4′s battle royale mode. According to the early YouTube posting, you can easily switch from PC to consoles, too, thanks to cross-platform save progression and cross-play. This is a smart move for Activision as it competes with other free-to-play battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
The battle pass and the benefit for Modern Warfare owners
If players are bemoaning the fact that they purchased Modern Warfare only for the BR — which was never advertised or announced by Activision during Modern Warfare’s release — here’s the upside: Modern Warfare owners will be able to port all the content they’ve earned in that game (skins, operators, etc.) into Warzone. Likewise, all progression in Warzone will count for Modern Warfare.
The games will share the same item shop and battle pass. Progress in Warzone will translate to the Modern Warfare battle pass as well.
150 players can compete via trios
While Blackout could hold 100 players, Warzone ups the player count to 150. It’s unclear whether this number will increase when it comes to duos and quads. Previous leaks suggested 200 players as the maximum, so there’s a possibility that number rises with a future version of Warzone.
Looting includes money
Players can collect in-game cash to purchase equipment, killstreaks, or even revive tokens for themselves or to bring back fallen teammates. This can be done at designated “Buy Stations” scattered around the map.
A new respawn system (and the Gulag)
Unlike most battle royale games, death doesn’t necessarily translate to a lost match in Warzone. A downed teammate can be revived in several ways. Players can spend some cash at a virtual kiosk found on the maps to purchase a token for themselves or pay to revive a dead teammate.
A more interesting dynamic also exists via the Gulag. Players defeated in the main game are “captured” and brought to the Gulag. Once there, if you win in a 1v1 fight with another player, you gain a second chance and rejoin your living teammates. According to Chaos’s YouTube video, spectators can watch the 1v1s live while they await their turn, and can throw rocks at the battling players or even notify a teammate (if they’re in the fight) of the enemy’s location.
A mix of old and new locations
Warzone’s map is massive, and appears to match the (extremely low-res) version we saw via the COD Caster mode last month. It contains bits and pieces of maps that have appeared in the series before, including Terminal, Scrapyard, Overgrown and Broadcast. Notably, there are also locales with snow. For traversal, you have a number of vehicles at your disposal, including but not necessarily limited to: an ATV, helicopter, cargo truck and rover.
Simplified looting and kits
Remember the anxiety of rifling through bags after you drop your foe in Blackout, trying to find the right attachments and ammo while praying you don’t get sniped? It appears that system will instead give way to a Fortnite-like experience where a player’s stash scatters around their body when they drop, allowing you to quickly and easily identify what you want.
All players will drop into the map with a pistol, according to Chaos, and additional guns are found around the map, color coded by power — white is more basic, for example. Also, armor isn’t leveled, as it was in Blackout. Instead, players grab up to five armor plates to protect themselves, according to the video.
There are goals beyond surviving and killing opponents
Fulfilling optional missions in a round will grant players upgrades in terms of XP and boosts for their in-game success (rare loot, in-game cash, etc). From the Activision news release: “Contracts are scattered throughout the battleground and are available for any squad to pursue. Completing these contracts gives you in-match rewards including weapons, Cash, XP, and more to instantly gain an advantage over other squads. Whether it’s hunting down a specific opponent in a Bounty or dominating an interest point on the map, there are more ways than ever to be the top squad.”
Beware killstreaks and the final circle
Using money found in the game, you can exchange it for killstreaks like air strikes or cluster strikes. Chaos noted in his video that this was sometimes unenjoyable late in matches, as teams spammed the final circle, which devolved into wave after wave of explosions.
All about ‘Plunder’
One new mode introduced in Warzone, “Plunder," is a literal money-grab in which players try to collect as much cash as they can from supply drops, fallen opponents or controlling what the news release calls “cash deposit locations” around the map. This is a respawn mode in which players can customize their loadouts at the start of the match like they do in Modern Warfare’s multiplayer modes. Victory is achieved through “a variety of ways," which were not detailed in the press release.