Ahead of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II's debut at Summer Game Fest, Activision Blizzard is sharing some details about the future of Call of Duty: Warzone. The money-making battle royale multiplayer game will be getting an updated version after the release of Modern Warfare II—one that will reset player progression in order to shore up the technical underworkings of the game.
The new version (tentatively called Warzone 2.0) will run on last-generation consoles and mobile platforms like iOS and Android. That latter version is likely the mobile version of Warzone Activision Blizzard has been discussing for the last few months. The previous version of Warzone will continue to exist "as a standalone product."
It's a notable move for one of the biggest battle royale moneymakers in the video game industry. First, this would be the first battle royale multiplayer game to launch a "2.0" version instead of continuing to iterate on the existing client.
For comparison, PUBG: Battlegrounds launched in 2017, Fortnite's battle royale mode debuted just a few months later, and Apex Legends dropped in 2019. None of these games have had to release new versions in the years since. Warzone launched in 2020, well after its competitors.
Second, it's the first battle royale game that intends to wipe all player progression and item attainment, a surprising choice from a business perspective given that these items are key revenue drivers for battle royale games.
The Call of Duty: Warzone team has been remarkably transparent about some of the technical challenges the game faces. It's difficult to make multiple maps playable at once due to the intense demand on the game's file size, and the team admitted that it "messed up" the launch of new content last December. It's no surprise that they'd prefer to work with an updated version of the game.
Interestingly, the new version of Warzone and all future Call of Duty games will be developed using the engine for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (the 2019 game, not the 2007 game). That's a change in practice for Activision, which previously allowed different subsidiary studios to use different engines.
If you're curious about how Warzone will impact Activision Blizzard's financials, you'd do best to remember that soon it will be part of Microsoft's financials. The Xbox developer's acquisition of the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher is well underway.
And of course we are obligated to remind readers that Activision Blizzard is still reeling from a year-long sexual harassment and abuse scandal that began with a lawsuit filed by the State of California against the company. It's unknown if Modern Warfare II or Warzone 2.0's development have been impacted by ongoing investigations and lawsuits.