Warzone nearly launched as a GTA Online clone

Warzone nearly launched as a GTA Online clone
Images via Activision | Rockstar Games

Written by 

Jack Marsh


9th Apr 2024 17:40

Most players who set foot on Verdansk could probably agree that what made Warzone the perfect battle royale experience was that it was so close to the core Call of Duty values.

The player-on-player gunplay was everything that we were used too, except the influx of the Gunsmith, and it was all about how sharp your could shoot and how savvy your nuance was.

But Warzone was very nearly completely different, as lead developers were pushing for a Grand Theft Auto clone filled with AI.

Warzone devs were pushing for it to be 'GTA but in Call of Duty'

Click to enlarge

In an interview with Glitching Queen, where detailed plans from the scrapped standalone Zombies game from 2012 were discussed, ex-Raven Software developer Michael Gummelt revealed that Warzone leadership were really pushing for it to be GTA-like.

"The project director on [Warzone], Pat Kelly, his vision for it was always like 'it's GTA, it's GTA: Online but Call of Duty."

"It was like there was a persistent world that you could drop into to do missions and then get out," he added. 

This ideology was soon phased out though - or at least put on the back burner - in favour of a more simplistic battle royale experience that players could understand instantly.

Warzone's GTA Clone morphed into DMZ

Not all of these plans were scrapped though, and the GTA: Online clone was soon morphed into DMZ, although the persistent world was not continued and rather a battle royale and exfil looter shooter hybrid was formed. 

"There were all sorts of things that we prototyped that didn't ship [for Warzone]," Gummelt continued.

"There were missions on the map and AI on the map where they would spawn in and you would go around and fight other teams and AI by doing contracts and all of this other stuff."

"All of this soon became DMZ, or was added to Warzone 2.0."

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It's not quite Captain Price dipping out of a gunfight for a quick lap dance, and there's a severe lack of white powder in Call of Duty compared to Rockstar's high-octane games, but it's rather interesting to know what might have been for Warzone.

Jack Marsh
About the author
Jack Marsh
Jack is an Esports Journalist at GGRecon. Graduating from the University of Chester, with a BA Honours degree in Journalism, Jack is an avid esports enthusiast and specialises in Rocket League, Call of Duty, VALORANT, and trending gaming news.
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