Call of Duty: Warzone has been a staple tagalong to the leading shooter franchise since the Modern Warfare reboot in 2019, getting integrated with each annual mainline release since. The free to play battle royale quickly shot to the top, but is now showing its age, bleeding players and grappling with cheaters - it's time for a new page, and Activision agrees, having confirmed that Warzone 2 will get a full reveal later this year.
Rumors and leaks about a full fledged follow up to Warzone have been circulated for a long time now, but soon we'll have our first official look at the successor to the first successful Call of Duty battle royale. The "successful" bit is an important differentiator, as Warzone isn't the first time Call of Duty wanted a slice of PUBG's pie - Blackout was a game mode attached to Black Ops IIII (we will ridicule this mishandling of roman numerals at every opportunity) that failed to make a splash.
Warzone is a whole other matter, skyrocketing to the upper echelons of the genre rapidly after it launched hot on the heels of the Modern Warfare reboot. It is fitting, then, that Activision has revealed the next Call of Duty game to be Modern Warfare 2, sequel to Modern Warfare (2019). Not to be confused with 2009's Modern Warfare 2, sequel to Modern Warfare (2007). AAA game names suck.
Just as the rebooted MW brought Warzone, Modern Warfare 2 will be heralding in the next era for the free to play battle royale. Activision has confirmed that Warzone 2 will be officially revealed sometime later this year, and is expected to launch in early 2023, integrated to the new mainline title just as the current version was.
Warzone could definitely benefit from the kind of excitement and player surge a new release brings with it. The population has been on a slump recently, with Warzone apparently losing 50 million players during the Vanguard era. The game is also starting to show its age - this franchise releases a new title each year, don't forget - and is fighting a seemingly losing battle against cheaters, despite the full deployment of the Ricochet anti-cheat system.
Hopefully the release of a fully fledged sequel, instead of just attaching itself to whatever the current mainline title is, will be the infusion of fresh blood that Warzone needs to stay competitive in the cutthroat battle royale market.
The new free-to-play Warzone experience, which is built from the ground-up alongside the premium game, features groundbreaking innovations to be revealed later this year.
Integration with Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard have been somewhat challenged, due to the difference of underlying code and the engines powering the battle royale versus the mainline titles. While a constant influx of content via seasons have kept players around, and Activision began investing in high-profile crossovers to catch headlines, the game is definitely on the downward slope.
That said, nobody should mistake Warzone for anything near unpopular - still drawing millions and millions of players, at its slump state its performance is more than what most games can dream of. Even so, veteran players are looking for something more, and only a sequel can provide that.
Keep an eye out for more official news about Call of Duty: Warzone 2 - or whatever it will be called.