Activision officially confirmed that Call of Duty: Warzone 2 is in the works, as revealed during a recent call with streamers, influencers, and outlets. Though we don’t have a public record of the call in its entirety, a number of content creators have revealed some information discussed on the event pertaining to Warzone, its development, and why Warzone 2 is so necessary. According to many who attended the event, Activision and Infinity Ward were more candid than ever, shedding light on why Warzone turned into such a mess.
The call was loaded with takeaways, so here are the seven biggest insights from the bizarre Warzone 2 reveal, as shared by various content creators and Activision itself.
Aside from the litany of issues Warzone has had since day one, Activision’s communication with the community has typically been lackluster, with vague explanations for the various problems, or none at all. As part of the recent Warzone 2 call, content creators said COD leadership was candid and admitted they messed up.
Reporter and insider Tom Henderson relayed word that COD leadership said “We fucked stuff up. We broke it. We’re not happy with it. No excuses,” during the call. Henderson notes that the studio “vowed to fix the issues of the game.”
CharlieIntel corroborated this, stating Infinity Ward Co-Studio Head Pat Kelly said, “We don’t always get things right. It takes a long time … we break our fucking backs,” referencing its efforts to fix the game.
While Warzone‘s issues run the gamut across PC and console, those on PS4 and Xbox One have experienced most of the game’s problems. On Xbox One alone, Warzone players suffered a cumulative 5.1 million crashes over the course of an entire month, according to Modern Warzone. When you consider console players make up the majority of the install base, it’s incredible how poor the current state of Warzone is on PS4 and Xbox One.
As we’ve seen from games like Cyberpunk 2077, older hardware can cause development issues. This is even truer for a multiplayer game that supports cross-platform play like Warzone. Without having to account for such a disparity between PC and the lowest common denominator — the PS4 and Xbox One — Warzone 2 will hopefully be more ubiquitous across PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
One of the most-requested Warzone features on consoles is the implementation of a field of view (FOV) slider, which has been in the game on PC since day one. This, in essence, allows you to see more on-screen at any given time. Ever since then, console players have hounded Activision and Raven Software to add it to the console version, with no success. Finally, Activision straight-up confirmed that an FOV slider will not be added to Warzone.
“Adding FOV on console in Warzone creates major performance impacts for old gen console players,” someone on the call reportedly said. “Our goal is for Warzone to be a performant experience on all platforms, so we do not plan to implement an FOV Slider on console at this time.”
CharlieIntel added that “internal testing just showed if they added it, they might as well call it a ‘how to drop frame rate slider.’”
The main issue is that it would negatively impact the frame rate, and since Warzone has far more important issues now, it makes sense this feature won’t be added. However, given the power of the new generation hardware such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it’s much more possible to see an FOV slider implemented into console versions of Warzone 2, which will reportedly leave last-gen systems behind.
Tipster The Ghost of Hope says an FOV slider will come to Warzone 2 on day one.
FOV Slider will NOT be coming to Warzone 1 at all on console. FOV SLIDER DAY ONE ON CONSOLES WITH WARZONE 2!
— Hope (@TheGhostOfHope) February 10, 2022
Part of Warzone’s issues is tied to a lack of a long-term vision, which is apparent when you consider what the game was supposed to look like originally.
CharlieIntel says the original version of the Gulag was much different. Apparently, the Gulag was added because during internal testing, campers were eliminating players who liked to run around aggressively, so the developers wanted to give run and gunners a second chance. It was previously revealed that the Gulag was supposed to have a betting system, as well.
Modern Warzone also explained that the original version of Warzone only had a few Buy Stations, but testing showed that players were camping these locations, leading to slower-paced matches. Developer Raven then littered Buy Stations across Verdansk and Caldera.
Fun Fact: The first ever buy station in #Warzone was between train station and Scrapyard.
They added more buy stations because people were camping them during play testing, originally there were very very few buy stations on Verdansk.
— ModernWarzone (@ModernWarzone) February 11, 2022
As relayed by CharlieIntel, Activision said “Warzone was just meant to be an extension of Modern Warfare.” Which, it was. But once the team implemented the contents of Cold War — a game that runs on a different engine — things got messy. The same can be said about the recent Vanguard integration.
"Warzone was just meant to be an extension of Modern Warfare" and then "we integrated Black Ops and then Vanguard" and now the "game is bloated."
The devs admitted that because there's so much going in to the game, they literally have problems finding what's even causing bugs.
— CharlieIntel (@charlieINTEL) February 11, 2022
“The game is bloated,” Activision said during the call.
With Warzone 2, it’s unclear if future games will be integrated past the initial launch, but if so, we imagine Activision and its developers will have a better formula in place to make it easier to implement additional COD titles. Alternatively, Warzone 2 might only be tied to Modern Warfare II. Either way, you can count on a less chaotic approach, with more unity.
One notable tidbit is that Activision plans to use one engine for the franchise going forward. The idea is that a consistent engine will help make Warzone and future COD games more stable. You don’t need to be a developer to realize that implementing a game with specific mechanics into a totally separate game with different mechanics is a recipe for disaster.
Further, the new engine being developed by Infinity Ward for this year's game + Warzone is the foundation for the future.
They stated clearly that even with a singular base engine, they want Treyarch games to feel like Treyarch titles; MW to have the MW feel. That is important.
— CharlieIntel (@charlieINTEL) February 11, 2022
CharlieIntel explains this engine unification is “the foundation for the future.” However, each game will still feel unique across various developers, culminating with Warzone 2 — at least when it’s integrated into Modern Warfare II. Our hope is that if Activision plans to integrate future games, doing so will be much more straightforward since all COD games will share an engine going forward.
The main takeaway here? Warzone is messed up to the point of being unfixable. Sure, it probably is fixable, but given the severity of problems introduced because of years of pilling on top of clashing ideas — across three different games built on separate engines — Activision has come to the conclusion that starting from scratch is the way to go. And to an extent, this makes sense. The publisher and its developers no doubt bit off more than they could chew with Warzone, but now that the team has over two years’ worth of data to work with, it’s likely more clear what needs to be done going forward.