Modern Warfare has two major online modes, Warzone and Multiplayer, but would anyone still be around if it wasn't for Warzone?
After several months of leaks and speculation, March 10th 2020 is a significant date in the storied history of the Call of Duty franchise. The date saw the release of Call of Duty: Warzone, the second Battle Royale experience released into the franchise after Blackout which was released as part of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 back in 2018. The release of Warzone also saw the first free-to-play CoD game to be released on console, a stark contrast from Black Ops 4, where microtransactions were king for Activision.
The 2019 reboot of Modern Warfare has been very successful in terms of player increase and the number of hours played but as we move into the second half of the Modern Warfare game cycle, there are still several issues that plague the game on a casual and competitive level. The release of Warzone was a breath of fresh air for the community, with several people stating that Warzone “saved” multiplayer on Modern Warfare, but how?
A Game Changer
Although Modern Warfare saw many people that had lost interest in the franchise return to Call of Duty, multiplayer map design, a flawed spawn system and a lack of weapon balancing saw players quickly put down the controller once again.
The release of Warzone could not have come at a better time for Modern Warfare. Just as players were getting to the point where they would turn their attention to the next instalment of the game or even return to the previous title, Warzone appeared after months of leaks pointing towards its release. “If Warzone didn’t come out on this game, Modern Warfare is one of the worst CoDs ever made” stated Chicago Huntsmen talisman Seth “Scump” Abner in a recent YouTube upload. “Warzone is probably even better than Blackout” he added. High praise from Call of Duty royalty indeed.
Armed with a new tool in its belt, Infinity Ward quickly turned its attention to Warzone and the tens of millions of players dropping into Verdansk, seemingly leaving Modern Warfare multiplayer in the dust.
The Saviour of Multiplayer
Warzone gave players a small taste of what the full Modern Warfare multiplayer experience had to offer. Containing a selection of weapons and all Ground War maps and offering a unique take on health regeneration in a BR game, Warzone managed to cement its place alongside the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends as one of the top games in the genre.
The impact of Warzone has ultimately led even more people towards the full Modern Warfare game, with, in recent Call of Duty news, Activision citing the strong Modern Warfare numbers are partly down to Warzone players buying the full release. It’s no secret that Modern Warfare multiplayer has its flaws but it is certainly drawing in the numbers, particularly from Warzone, which is going to be a mainstay in the franchise even when the new annual title is released.
Could It Save Future Multiplayers?
Thanks to Warzone being a standalone game, it could well bail out future releases if another poor multiplayer experience appears. Infinity Ward is committing to Warzone for the long term, with Taylor Kurosaki confirming that Warzone will be the portal to connect all the different Call of Duty universes together so if the 2020 release does not live up to expectation despite Treyarch spearheading the development, Warzone will be there for players wanting their Call of Duty fix without having to play the new game.
A Lasting Impact
The release of Warzone has left a lasting impact on the Call of Duty landscape. A few years ago, a free-to-play, standalone Call of Duty game for consoles where you could play with everyone regardless of platform would have been the stuff dreams are made of, but move forward to 2020 and Warzone has cemented itself as a firm favourite within a franchise alongside some of the best first-person shooters ever made.
As the start of Season Four of Modern Warfare and Warzone approaches, the popularity of Warzone does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The game has seen relative unknowns skyrocketed into the spotlight after showcasing their talents in Verdansk. The community is rife with third-party and Activision-endorsed tournaments featuring a variety of celebrities, professional players and content creators competing for prize money and for a good cause.
Warzone has managed to tap into a saturated market and succeed where Blackout and Treyarch failed after ceasing to support the game. With the full force of Infinity Ward behind it, the sky is the limit as Warzone looks to continue its growth into the definitive Call of Duty battle royale experience.
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Images via Activision