The Warzone 2 release date is finally here, having given us just enough time to get to grips with Modern Warfare 2 before we drop into the second iteration of the CoD battle royale. The “new era” of Warzone sees new modes, guns, maps, and more while integrating closely with MW2. DMZ mode has been launched alongside Warzone 2, season 1, alongside new third-person playlists, changes to the gulag, new AI combatants, and more, so here’s the lowdown on everything we know about Warzone 2.0.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2 release date
Just weeks after the release of Modern Warfare 2, Warzone 2.0 will be launched, bringing season 1 to both games. But that won’t be the end of it, as there will be more to come to the paid-for and free-to-play game over the coming months. Players won’t be able to bring anything from the first Warzone into Warzone 2, but will “be gifted a few items to use in Warzone 2.0”. Instead, your items can be carried across from Modern Warfare 2. Following a break, Warzone will continue to be playable after the launch of Warzone 2.0 as a separate experience called Call of Duty: Warzone Caldera. Looking for the new game? Check your specs and the PC size in our Call of Duty Warzone 2 system requirements guide.
Is Warzone 2 free?
Warzone 2 is a free game – you don’t need to own Modern Warfare 2 in order to play the battle royale or DMZ modes. The only parts of Warzone 2 that require a purchase are the cosmetic bundles in the store, and the Warzone 2 battle pass.
Warzone 2.0 map: Al Mazrah
The Warzone 2.0 map has been revealed as the huge, varied and all-new Al Mazrah, featuring everything from dry desert to fast-flowing rivers, and industrial buildings to dense, rocky peaks. Infinity Ward has confirmed this is the largest and most ambitious Warzone map to date, introducing new underwater dynamics, vehicle interaction, and more. As you’ll find out further down, there is plenty to keep you busy across the dense landscape, including call-backs to old CoD maps, AI combatants, and more.
Custom loadouts return
Contrary to earlier leaks, custom loadouts do return for Warzone 2 – they just work in a slightly different way to what we’re used to. According to an official Call of Duty blog post, you will be able to purchase your loadout with in-game cash from Shops (previously known as Buy Stations). They can also be obtained from new AI-defended Strongholds, or from new public loadout drops.
The new gulag
The gulag is an iconic part of Call of Duty history, as both a mission in the first Modern Warfare 2, and that area of limbo in Warzone in which you get the chance to bring yourself back from the dead. For Warzone 2, the gulag has changed, meaning you’re not alone as you fight for your life, instead paired up with an opponent to return you both to the main battle. Then there’s an AI jailer, who’s own defeat can take all four of the 2v2 players back to Al Mazrah. The gulag is no longer just about a fight for the death – it’s now about morals, teamwork, and potentially working with the enemy. Here’s all the Warzone 2 Gulag changes explained.
Strongholds and Black Sites
Warzone 2 Strongholds are another game-changing new addition to the battle royale, and can be found across the sprawling Al Mazrah map. Home to challenging AI combatants, you’ll need to prepare to take down both AI defenders and human contenders in a bid to be the first to enter. Doing so will grant your team a Black Site key, so your work isn’t over yet. Survive long enough to get to the Black Site, and success is rewarded with a permanent weapon blueprint, as well as valuable in-match loot.
Having been rumoured for some time, thrilling new DMZ mode was confirmed by Infinity Ward’s Stephanie Snowden during September’s Call of Duty Next broadcast. This mode is similar to extraction games like Escape from Tarkov and Scavengers, but will still feel like a Call of Duty game, with the same operators, world, and mechanics you know and love.
If you prefer a third-person style of battle royale gameplay, you’re in luck. Following the release of third-party playlists in Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, the same is coming to Warzone 2, but won’t be available all the time, instead being rolled out some time during season 1 as part of the weekly playlist rotation.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 crossplay
In lieu of any official confirmation about Warzone 2.0 crossplay, we can make some educated guesses based on the game’s confirmed platforms and previous compatibility. Warzone 2.0 is going to launch on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Series X/S, and uses the same engine as Modern Warfare 2 which is crossplay enabled. With the first iteration of Warzone being crossplay compatible, we can probably assume its follow-up will be too.
Call of Duty 2.0 engine upgrades
In an effort to unify the Call of Duty games, all tech upgrades and story elements in Modern Warfare 2 are coming to Warzone 2 later this year, dubbed COD 2.0 by the devs. This includes improvements to the game’s AI mechanics to make NPCs’ actions more realistic. For example, NPCs in Warzone 2 will check their angles before pushing an area, just like a good human player.
Water has been drastically improved in Warzone 2, giving players the ability to dive underwater and shoot enemies. The devs have struck a balance between gameplay and realism – shooting underwater isn’t actually possible in real life, and while it’s an option in Call of Duty, you’ll need to take some time to work out how it affects your weapons. Swimming has also been upgraded to give players a chance to survive if they find themselves in water.
The way players can interact with vehicles has been altered, opening up room for more exciting conflicts. Players can lean out of windows to aim their weapons, and this option is available to passengers and the driver. Vehicles won’t instantly explode when they take damage, instead bumpers, doors, and tires can be destroyed as they become blemished.
Finally, Ricochet, the anti-cheat system introduced in Call of Duty: Vanguard, is going to be active from day one on both Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.
Additional contributions by Christian Vaz and Grace Dean