Black Ops Cold War

Black Ops Cold War will integrate with Warzone – cross-gen and cross-platform – but the details remain redacted

Another year, another Call of Duty, hey ho. But this year’s release, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, as we’ve previously discussed, has been intriguingly complicated by the existence of Activision’s ongoing battle royale, free-to-play goliath Call of Duty: Warzone.

Last night we saw on point developer Treyarch unveil its vision for the next 12 months of ‘regular’ Call of Duty multiplayer – you know, quick games, small maps that kind of thing. But the bigger question was how that would be integrated into Warzone, a title that was developed by stablemate (and in-house rival by most accounts) Infinity Ward, and which is heavily integrated with the current Modern Warfare title. 

One confirmation we did get was that Black Ops and Warzone, predictably would work both cross-platform and cross-generation, so the community will remain united, excellent news. 

In keeping with its Cold War setting, sadly, details were thin on the ground on how Warzone would evolve in lockstep with the new Black Ops, like someone had redacted the files, for now at least. 12-year Treyarch veteran Miles Leslie was sent in to talk up the connection without letting much slip, with no one from Infinity Ward, who presumably is still working on what is/was their game appearing. 

“Black Ops Cold War will usher in the next evolution of Call of Duty Warzone, continuing and expanding the blockbuster battle royale free to play experience,” said Leslie. “And it’ll be a true evolution with Warzone not only picking up where the Modern Warfare climax left off narratively. But also interweaving themes, locations, weapons and vehicles of Black Ops Cold War right into the action.

“This interlinks Call of Duty in ways that evolve the Warzone experience while delivering jaw-dropping moments… One surprise, we’re avoiding is the feeling of starting over. It’s important to us that you can still use the characters and weapons and progression related items, which is why investment and progress in cold war is reflected in Warzone.”

Now that sounds like a big promise, if the developer is saying that all existing weapons will stay within the mode, it seems almost impossible that they would be able to balance those against the new weapon set coming from Treyarch. Maybe the game will be split into two modes, modern and 1980s, though that then could split the player base.

“These are two very big games. From the beginning they’ve been built to work together, your player experience means everything to us. So we’re making sure Black Out Cold War and Warzone share progression, with much of your previously earned Modern Warfare content from weapons, cosmetics, still available for use in both Warzone and Modern Warfare.”

“That’s multiple studios totally committed to continuing this new tradition of insanely fun, absurdly accessible Warzone action. I can’t wait for you to see how Verdansk and all of Call of Duty will evolve in the year ahead.”

So big promises there, and some exciting possibilities, but little in the way of details of how it will play out, retain free to play Warzone players, encourage them to buy and play Cold War, and so much more. It’s a tricky challenge, and not one we’ve really seen before, and we’ll be keeping our eye on how it plays out. 


About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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