One of “Warzone’s” most distinctive features was its introduction of the Gulag, a way for defeated players to win their way back into the Call of Duty game’s battle royale fracas. With “Warzone 2.0,” the Gulag is getting an overhaul. From both Thursday’s presentation during “Call of Duty: Next” and interviews with members of developer Infinity Ward’s leadership, here’s what we know:
It’s 2-v-2, but it’s also way bigger than that
When “Warzone” introduced its iconic Gulag mechanic, it was a one-on-one matchup where players dueled against each other for a second chance at getting back into the battlefield. In Gulag 2.0, two potentially random players will be assigned into pairs for a 2-v-2 matchup on a bigger arena map with new opportunities and dangers.
You can play it straight and win your freedom by eliminating the enemy duo, or you can try to take down “The Jailer,” Gulag 2.0′s heavily armed guard. Taking the big bad Jailer is another way to respawn, but you’ll have to do so using only rocks and melee attacks, so coordinating with your allies is key.
But if you take too long to do either, an even greater foe will be unleashed.
“If a little bit of time goes by [in a Gulag match] and you haven’t eliminated or been eliminated by the other team, the people running this really cruel prison get frustrated,” said Infinity Ward co-studio head Patrick Kelly in an interview with The Washington Post.
That’s when the wardens will unleash a Juggernaut onto the players to finish the job. All four players could choose to band together and defeat the Juggernaut. Of course, this also means that when they drop back into Al Mazrah, they’ll be meeting each other as enemies once again.
There’s a bunch of new equipment to suit different players
Infinity Ward’s Multiplayer Design Director Geoff Ward identified three types of “Warzone” players: rushers (offensive), sentinels (defensive) and stalkers (reactive).
“Warzone 2.0” will add a bunch of new gadgets to suit each type of player with additions such as a DDOS attack device, inflatable decoys, limited-used heartbeat sensor, drill charges and more.
Proximity chat and ‘cloud parties’ allow frenemies to work together
There will be many more situations in “Warzone 2.0” where hostile squads may want to team up with each other to complete a greater objective or take down a bigger threat. To that end, the game has added location-based proximity chat to allow different squads to communicate with each other and a feature called “cloud parties” that allows squads to dynamically add on new teammates.
You can use the open comms to propose a truce or troll your enemies as you gleefully gun them down. It’s up to you.
Multiple circles will start collapsing around the map instead of just one
When a match begins to wind down in “Warzone 2.0,” players will have multiple circles to find haven in as Al Mazrah’s habitable area continues to shrink. Anywhere from a single circle to four will appear on the map before eventually consolidating into a single safe zone.
“From a gameplay perspective, this approach changes the dynamics of every single match, offering a different rhythm and flow each time,” said Infinity Ward Game Director Jack O’Hara in an email to The Post.
Third-person mode, new movement options and deep water mechanics
A third-person option is coming to “Warzone 2.0” with its own playlist along with new movement options to navigate Al Mazrah. Players have been able to mount and slide since “Warzone” but will now be able to hang off ledges and also dive through the air, with just enough height to leap through a window and avoid those pesky live grenades.
Water movement mechanics have also been added to the game. Players cannot only swim in water but find refuge in it as a cover mechanic, since going deeper into the increasingly murky depths will obscure your position from enemies. Ballistics will also work differently while underwater, as only pistols can be used while submerged.
Strongholds encourage alliances of convenience on the battlefield
Strongholds are buildings held by AI enemies throughout Al Mazrah. These heavily fortified locations will hold some of the gear available on the map, but breaching them will be a tall order. Players can strike truces with enemy squads to assault a stronghold together.
Just make sure you don’t keep your back to your frenemies. There’s no friendly fire in “Warzone 2.0” but any cease-fire with players outside of your squad is purely voluntary. That can all change with a single shotgun blast.
New gameplay modes include Invasion, DMZ and more
Infinity Ward confirmed multiple gameplay modes for both large and small formats.
The upcoming Invasion mode is a 20-on-20 matchup where each team is supported with 20 AI troops. Infinity Ward described Invasion as a more leisurely, easygoing multiplayer mode without constant alerts or frantic movement. Whichever team hits 1,000 kills first (players and AI both count) wins.
The developer was sparse on details for the highly anticipated and now confirmed DMZ mode. What they did share is that it’s a sandbox, extraction-based mode where up to 100 players will be able to define their own win conditions. It will also feature AI enemies who react dynamically and enforce Strongholds based on player activity.
Gunsmith introduces universal unlockable attachments and a firing range
The new Gunsmith has completely revamped how weapon progression works and allows players to transform existing guns into different types.
The new weapon progression system can sound overwhelming at first, but thankfully, Call of Duty analyst TrueGameData has made a helpful YouTube video breaking it all down.
This time around, some of the things you unlock for one gun can carry over to another. These are universal attachments such as optics, muzzles, ammunition types and underbarrel attachments. For example, if you unlocked a suppressor or 4x scope on an M4, it’ll be unlocked and ready to use on another gun that’s compatible, such as an AK-47. Then there are attachments such as barrels, lasers, stocks and receivers that are platform-specific. A platform is a subcategory for variants of a gun modeled after a base design: The AK-47 platform includes the default AK-47 (assault rifle), RPK (light machine gun) and AK-74u (submachine gun).
A gun’s receiver is what determines what type of gun it is. By taking your default M4 and swapping out the receiver, you can change from an assault rifle to a designated marksman rifle, light machine gun or whatever else is available.
There’s also a firing range to test out your personalized creations.
‘Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile’ will release next year
“Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile” has been confirmed for 2023. The mobile version of “Warzone” will be set in Verdansk with many of the same gameplay features as the main title. Expect to see finishers, the ability to revive squad members, contracts, the gulag and killstreaks. The game will have lobbies capable of hosting 120 players. Infinity Ward stressed that there will be no bots rounding out these lobbies.
The game’s playlist will also be mobile only, with no cross-play between consoles and PC. However, it will still share progression in the Call of Duty ecosystem. Any battle pass rewards earned on the console and PC versions of “Warzone” will carry over to “Warzone Mobile.”