After the release of a brief, initial teaser and an official announcement that Call of Duty: Vanguard would be fully revealed in Warzone on the 19th of August, Activision, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software have spilled the beans on the upcoming World War 2 FPS. We now have a release date, story information, gameplay details and more.
All of these new details were revealed in the wake of the in-game Warzone event, including a trailer, information on Warzone integration, details about a Zombies mode in Vanguard and an introduction to some of the characters. The reveal also coincided with the lifting of a media embargo regarding a closed-doors demo shown to the press, which provided further details.
Read on to learn everything we know about Call of Duty: Vanguard.
When will Call of Duty: Vanguard launch?
The official reveal event has confirmed that the launch date for Call of Duty: Vanguard is November 5, 2021. This lines up perfectly with the previous leaks that we've seen a few days before the reveal event. The game will be released on PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4.
Will Call of Duty: Vanguard have a beta test?
Yes, and while no official dates have been set, the same leaks that accurately predicted the release date also predicted the beta dates (August 27). The trailer has revealed that pre-ordering the game will also grant players access to the non-open beta portion of the testing phase, and this will be available on PlayStation first.
What is the setting of Call of Duty: Vanguard?
Vanguard takes the Call of Duty series back to the series' roots in World War 2 once again, but with a slight twist - instead of going through the dramatized main motions of the war and adapting the biggest battles, the story will focus on the immediate aftermath of the Nazi defeat. Hitler is already dead, and the plot follows a small strike force consisting of four operatives tasked with tracking down his successor.
That said, the big set piece battles of WWII are still present to some degree. The demo shown to the press depicted the introductory mission of Arthur Kingsley's infiltration of occupied France on D-Day - because it is impossible to create any major WWII media without D-Day - and many other notable battles are depicted in what little footage we've already seen. These are likely a mixture of flashbacks, introductory missions and multiplayer maps.
The developers at Sledgehammer Games have skewed history a tad once again to better fit the game's needs. Vanguard's main villain, Heinrich Freisinger, is a fictional character and the leader of the Gestapo and the previously mentioned successor of the führer. This character is based on the real Gestapo operative Heinrich Müller, though Müller was never quite prominent enough to claim successorship to the office of Head of State - that ended up being Karl Dönitz, albeit for less than a month.
While one would assume that a hunt for Hitler's apparent successor would rather limit the locations explored in the game's story geographically, one of the main selling points of Vanguard is that every theatre of war from WWII will be represented - including both European fronts, North Africa and the Pacific. How exactly all of these locations factor into hunting down Müller is anyone's guess at this point.
The main characters of whom Vanguard's main squad consists includes the previously mentioned Arthur Kingsley from Britain, the Russian sniper Polina Petrova, Lucas Riggs from Australia and the American Wade Jackson.
What is Call of Duty: Vanguard's gameplay like?
We don't know much in this regard, but it has been officially confirmed that Vanguard will use the same engine as Modern Warfare, as opposed to Black Ops Cold War. No information about the multiplayer is known, but the campaign demo shown to the press revealed that the story mode will feature quite a few stealth sections, and has satisfying gunplay and snappy animations. Overall, you can expect the game to feel a lot like the Modern Warfare remake when playing.
Will there be a Zombies mode?
Yes - it has been officially confirmed by the developers that Call of Duty: Vanguard is going to launch with its own dedicated Zombies mode, much like Black Ops Cold War did.
Not only will Zombies be a fully fledged mode in Vanguard, but it will actually be developed by Treyarch, and will be set in the same universe as the "Dark Aether" reboot of Zombies that began with Black Ops Cold War. This is the first time Treyarch has developed one of their iconic Zombies entries for another studio's Call of Duty game. It is clear they have big ideas for the Dark Aether storyline, and don't want players to wait until the next Treyarch game.
Will there be Warzone integration?
Also yes, and this time around it is going to be a lot more trouble-free and smooth, since the game will share its engine with Warzone - the standalone free to play battle royale mode launched alongside the Modern Warfare remake, using its assets and engine.
With the difference in engine, the weapons and operators of Black Ops Cold War were harder to port over, and this was reflected in the game's balance. This time around, integration should be a lot easier.
Much like how Black Ops Cold War's release brought the new map, Rebirth Island, to Warzone, similarly the release of Vanguard will also herald the addition of a new map to the battle royale with a World War 2 flavor. It is not yet known if an in-game event of similar impact as the nuke event will also reshape Verdansk again to fit the WWII setting.
More interestingly, Activision is determined to craft a Warzone "metaverse", where all the available locations, characters and weapons - spanning World War 2, the Cold War and the modern era - share the same universe and timeline, despite coming from three different Call of Duty games from three different developers. How exactly this will take shape is anyone's guess right now - as well as how exactly WW2 era weaponry will be balanced against modern guns in a way that is both fun and accurate.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the release of Call of Duty: Vanguard will also mean the release of a brand new anti-cheat system for Warzone. Hacking in the battle royale has been a huge issue ever since it released, and seemingly none of Raven Software's efforts have quelled the cheating. Hopefully, the brand new anti-cheat will put an end to that.
The reveal of Call of Duty: Vanguard comes at a time of turbulence for the publisher, Activision-Blizzard. The company is embroiled in a major controversy that was sparked by a sexual harassment lawsuit being filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The lawsuit, and the company's highly criticized and tone-deaf response has sent shockwaves through Activision-Blizzard and the industry as a whole, leading to development stalling on certain projects, high-profile management members named in the lawsuit leaving the company and employees walking out in protest.
You can read more about the problems with sexism and discrimination at Activision-Blizzard and in the wider industry here.