Gamers have been hearing whispers and rumors about Activision's 2020 Call of Duty plans for months, but now, a fresh batch of leaks has seemingly confirmed that the new installment of the first-person shooter franchise will be titled Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
A leaked image of the unreleased game’s preliminary cover art was posted on Twitter Wednesday by CoD leaker Okami, who previously accurately leaked Call of Duty: Warzone’s release date and features before it was even announced. Their tweet was then verified by EuroGamer and Video Game Chronicle, both of which reported that anonymous sources involved with the project confirmed the name, but said the artwork has not been finalized.
The fact that CoD: Black Ops Cold War’s name has been all but officially acknowledged by Activision confirms previous leaks claiming that CoD 2020 would take place during the Cold War era in places like Vietnam and the Soviet Union.
Just like how Infinity Ward’s CoD: Modern Warfare rebooted that branch of the game in 2019, CoD: Black Ops Cold War appears to be a soft reboot of the Black Ops series which originally launched in 2010. The initial Black Ops release was set during the Cold War and included missions in Vietnam and Laos, among others. Plus, Activision has recently teased that a reboot to the Black Ops was just around the corner.
A May 19 update to CoD: Warzone let players unlock the doors of a secret bunker that has been sealed shut since the free-to-play, battle royale’s launch in March. The inside was riddled with hints of the Cold War era, like a war room, a countdown clock, and a nuclear warhead.
This suggests that Activision will use the release of CoD: Black Ops Cold War to transition to a new chapter of Warzone with drastic changes to the map, potentially caused by a nuclear explosion. That would be similar to the in-game event that Epic Games used to greatly change Fortnite’s map and usher in Chapter 2 of the battle royale.
But unveiling premium CoD titles through Warzone will most likely be the future of how Activision markets its new games.
The Inverse Analysis — Since Warzone is free-to-play, Activision can use it to reach a new base of players that wouldn’t normally dish out $60 for a new CoD game.
With these new players invested in the free branch of the franchise, the company will need to keep them interested by regularly updating the battle royale. Since it already releases CoD annually, Activision could integrate the themes of its upcoming premium games to Warzone. That would keep its widely popular battle royale fresh all while marketing its new game, a strategy that Infinity Ward’s narrative director Taylor Kurosaki’s hinted at during an interview with French publication GamerGen.
“We’re in kind of uncharted territories here,” reads a translated version of his statement. “Call of Duty has been on a very regular cadence for many, many years, and Warzone has made us rethink exactly how best to release new content and how to integrate it.”
So prepare yourselves CoD fans big changes are likely coming to Warzone in preparation for an eventual Black Ops Cold War launch.