It’s time to shake things up in Call of Duty: Warzone. The end of Season 2 on April 21 means big changes are on the way, with a sandbox mode being added and a nuclear warhead event expected to blast away the old Verdansk map.
A report from VGC in March first suggested that Verdansk would see a rework involving the nuclear warheads that appeared at the beginning of Season 2. Rumors circulated about how the map might change — or if it would even change at all. Call of Duty’s Twitter account all but confirmed some sort of event in a cryptic tweet on April 15.
The tweet shows that the skull icon contamination level in Warzone has reached 100%. The game then received an update which turned players into zombies if they died within certain toxic zones. Lore wise, it’s looking like the containment of Verdansk’s zombie population has failed and the nuclear option is the only choice left.
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As to what to expect, Raven Software has been relatively silent on details. Call of Duty leaker ZestyCODLeaks has helped fill in the gaps, however. Shared audio suggests that the zombie mode that players are now experiencing will come to a climax on April 21 with an extraction-style event. Players will have to succeed in some task to exfiltrate safely from Verdansk. If they fail, one or more nuclear warheads will detonate, decimating both Verdansk and its recently acquired zombie inhabitants.
It’s not clear how or if players’ performances will actually affect the event. Players may successfully exfiltrate only to see Verdansk blown up anyways — albeit without them in it. Combatants will have to wait until the Season 2 finale to find out for themselves.
After the event, players can expect Verdansk to get a fresh look, in a retro fashion. VGC reported that Raven Software will use the opportunity to transition the game’s theme from their Modern Warfare titles to Black Ops: Cold War. This transition was reportedly supposed to coincide with Cold War’s release back in November, but experienced delays in production.
A quickly deleted leak of the new map showed the 1980s inspired Verdansk, complete with an under-construction stadium and aqueduct. Cold War-era landmarks are also set to replace many of Verdansk’s original points of interest. The leak also showcased a new mineshaft area with what looks like the Duga-2 Radar Array from Cold War’s Ashes to Ashes mission.
Other changes are rumored to be coming to Warzone in Season 3. Further leaked narration lines from Zesty suggest that a sandbox mode is coming to the game. If the leaks are to be trusted, players will be able to toy around with the level and objectives, creating races and obstacle courses. They will also be to create control-point-style games and shooting courses, and may be able to designate certain areas as “safe zones” where weapons cannot be used. Considering Zesty’s leaks also predicted the plague mode that’s currently active, a sandbox mode is probably on the horizon.
This is the second live event that Warzone has hosted. The launch of Cold War was announced inside the battle royale game, with players having to make sense of a number of clues hidden around Verdansk. This time around, it looks like players will have a much more hands-on experience, similar to Fortnite’s Chapter 2 finale.
While Warzone was used to tease and announce Black Ops Cold War, don’t get your hopes up that Season 3 will feature hints toward the next Call of Duty. The next mainline game is rumored to be set back in World War 2, which, you might note, very much does not take place in the 1980s. Furthermore, we may not see any content relating to the next mainline game for a long while based on Raven Software’s delay in switching the map over to the Cold War theme.
Verdansk has seen a good run, but a big revamp of Warzone is more than overdue. Players have had over a year to explore everything the map has to offer, and what better way to send it off than by blowing it up? The new Verdansk will breathe some life into the game, giving old players something to start afresh with. While the specifics of the event are still under wraps, all will be revealed April 21st.
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Nicolas Perez is a journalist who has played way too much Civilization 5. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez_.