With summer in full swing, reports are swirling about all of Activision’s plans for the next Call of Duty game, which will pick up where Modern Warfare left off. That game, called Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, will send players back to the struggle for world dominance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Only this time, it’ll be developed by Treyarch, another Activision Blizzard development house.
Both Treyarch and Activision Blizzard are keeping plans for the next Call of Duty entrant close to the vest, but that hasn’t stopped rumors from sprouting up — and Activision from dropping some hints here and there to spark interest in the game.
Read on for our roundup of everything we think we know about Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. And be sure to check back often for updates as new details emerge.
Call of Duty: Black Ops name
The upcoming entrant into the Call of Duty franchise will officially be known as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
Leading up to Activision’s reveal, a serial number discovered in the Sony PlayStation Store pointed to an ID tag called “COD2020INTALPHA1.” The same tag suggested the game was codenamed “Red Door” internally.
That news followed claims from highly respected Call of Duty leaker Okami, who said on Twitter that the game would be officially known as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
In a YouTube video in late August, Activision finally revealed the game and its name with clips from KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov, who discussed sleeper agents operating in the U.S. The video, which didn’t share too many details about the game, shared a caption that read: “Know your history, or be doomed to repeat it.”
One other tidbit: Activision initially planned to have development team Sledgehammer craft this year’s game, but replaced it with Treyarch at some point in the development cycle after Sledgehammer faced production problems, according to Gamesradar.
A Cold War focus
Although Activision has shared precious little about its storyline, this year’s game will focus on Cold War themes and the espionage that became such an important part of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
That was initially made clear in a video that leaked to Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube in June that seemed to showcase an early build of the game. The brief clip, which showed Cold War-era elements, was ultimately taken down after Activision filed copyright claims.
The Activision trailer with Bezmenov lent even more credibility to the Cold War-themed concept. However, Treyarch has yet to say whether the game will be based on actual Cold War events or if it will be set in an alternate reality.
Indeed, other reports have said that the game will be set in a variety of Cold War hotspots, including the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and Korea. It’s been reported in several outlets that the story will kick off in the 1950s.
Clues in Call of Duty Warzone
Interestingly, some of the best evidence for what to expect in this year’s game has come from Activision itself.
In a May update to Call of Duty Warzone, the company added a variety of Cold War-era features, including bunkers with hidden (but seemingly inert) nuclear weapons, a countdown clock, and a mid-century war room. Some players have even reported that when they answer calls at the bunkers, they hear people speaking in Russian.
Data miners, who look through the code to find anything else Activision and Infinity Ward may have hidden, have also discovered references to spy planes used during the Cold War.
A tie-in with Modern Warfare and other franchises
In an interview with GamerGen in May, Infinity Ward narrative director Taylor Kurosaki said that Call of Duty Warzone will live on after 2020 and will be the “one constant” across all Call of Duty releases.
“Warzone will be the throughline that connects all of the various sub-franchises of Call of Duty,” Kurosaki said.
That comment all but confirmed rumors that players in this year’s game will be able to take on players from other Call of Duty titles inside Warzone. In other words, players who don’t buy Black Ops Cold War but have Modern Warfare will still be able to meet on the battlefield through Warzone.
We haven’t heard too much about the planned maps for the new Call of Duty entrant, but some Twitter scuttlebutt has suggested that a variety of maps, including Jungle, Summit, and Nuketown, will be playable. Again, we have no confirmation on the news, but Nuketown has been available in previous Black Ops titles, so that seems to make sense.
When will it launch?
One of the major questions surrounding the next Call of Duty title centers on when it will launch.
History can be our guide to some extent. After all, both Black Ops 4 and Modern Warfare hit store shelves in mid-October. For years before that, however, Activision kept to an annual November cadence.
While it’s certainly reasonable to believe we’ll get another October launch this year, it’s unclear how the coronavirus pandemic may have impacted development on this year’s game. Coronavirus may push back its release.
Big questions to answer
There are still questions surrounding this year’s title that haven’t been discussed. For instance, can we expect a single-player campaign? Last year’s Modern Warfare campaign was outstanding and one of its chief selling points. But Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 notoriously ditched the single-player campaign.
What Black Ops 4 did have, however, was a zombie mode — something that has both attracted and turned away some players. We don’t know yet if zombie mode is coming, but it’s part of the Black Ops DNA.
Finally, we don’t know what, if any, differences we can expect in a PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X version of the game. It’s unknown whether we’ll get an exact copy for both current and next-generation consoles or if we’ll get some improvements on more capable hardware.
As always, only Activision (and Treyarch) knows for sure. And so far, the company hasn’t said much.
Updated at 11:21 a.m. PT on August 21 to include more details about the game.