After breaking into the battle royale genre with Black Ops 4‘s battle royale mode, Blackout, Activision is going much bigger in the battle royale space with a standalone free-to-play game called Call of Duty: Warzone that supports 150 players and doesn’t require you to buy anything to play it. You can read the full Warzone update patch notes here.
[Update: In addition to the larger update released today, Infinity Ward is rolling out another small patch that it says addresses two specific things. The first is to enable text chat in Modern Warfare across all platforms, while the other involves a bug that was causing contracts in battle royale to not provide consistent rewards.]
The game launched on PS4, Xbox One, and PC today, March 10. Activision surprise-released it much like EA did with Apex Legends last year. It’s not a complete surprise, however, as the opening cinematic for Modern Warfare Season 2 strongly hinted at a new battle royale mode, and numerous leaks have emerged in recent weeks. The latest was an actual gameplay video, which was soon after followed by the addition of an in-game countdown clock that pointed to a March 10 release.
But this is more than a mode for Modern Warfare; it’s a free-to-play game that everyone can download. You don’t need to have a copy of Modern Warfare to play it, but Modern Warfare owners will be able to jump into it earlier than other players. Warzone first became available to download for Modern Warfare owners at 8 AM PT on Tuesday, while everyone else was able to grab it starting at 12 PM PT.
We’re rolling out a small patch across all platforms that enables the text chat in Modern Warfare multiplayer and also fixes a bug that gave inconsistent rewards when completing contracts in Battle Royale.
— Infinity Ward (@InfinityWard) March 10, 2020
Warzone features two mode: Battle Royale and Plunder. The former plays out similarly to other battle royale games; players drop onto an expansive map in squads of three and compete to be the last team remaining. During the course of the match, a circle of deadly gas will close in, shrinking the battlefield.
Plunder, meanwhile, is a race to collect the most cash. You can earn money by looting, stealing it from other players, and completing Contracts–objectives you can find and take on in the midst of a match. Activision says there are several different types of Contracts; Scavenger Contracts, for instance, task you to find and open a series of supply boxes, while Recon Contracts tasking you with securing a location, much like Call of Duty’s Domination mode.
Both of Warzone’s modes take place across the same map, Verdansk, which Activision describes as “an expansive city with multiple named zones and well over 300 points of interest.” You’ll be able to find five different vehicle types across the map, including ATVs, cargo trucks, and helicopters. You can read more details about Warzone on the official Call of Duty website.
If you already own Modern Warfare, Warzone will replace the “Classified” panel in the game’s main menu. The download will weigh between 18-22 GB if you’ve installed Modern Warfare’s most recent update. If you’re a new player, Warzone can be downloaded directly from your console’s digital store and will be much larger, taking up between 83-101 GB. For more ongoing coverage, check out our Warzone info roundup.
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