As sure as the sun rises, we know that we're going to see a new Call of Duty game every year. Sure enough, Activision recently confirmed that a new "premium" Call of Duty is in the works and due for release in 2020, despite already releasing a remastered Modern Warfare 2 campaign and Warzone, its excellent spin on battle royale, earlier this year.
While we don’t know much about the new Call of Duty yet, we do know that Black Ops developer Treyarch is working on the game with support from Sledgehammer Games after a development switch up. Treyarch’s last Call of Duty title was Black Ops 4, a decent enough entry that eschewed a single-player campaign to add Blackout – the franchise’s first stab at battle royale. This year’s game is rumored to be a reboot of the Black Ops franchise similar to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), with the title rumored to be ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’.
With E3 2020 canceled and Activision yet to announce a replacement event, expect the new Call of Duty to pop up in some shape or form during an announcement stream. But, until then, here’s everything we know about the new Call of Duty.
[UPDATE: New Call of Duty game may take us to the Cold War, based on this leaked title. Read on to find out more.]
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next mainline Call of Duty game.
- When is it out? TBC, but probably around October or November.
- What can I play it on? TBC. Xbox One, PS4, and PC are likely but expect PS5 and Series X too.
- Will it have cross-play? Very likely considering Modern Warfare offered it.
- Will there be Zombies? We’d be very surprised if Treyarch’s infamous mode doesn’t make an appearance.
New Call of Duty release date
New Call of Duty games traditionally releases in November, but Activision has kept things flexible in years past. Notably, Black Ops 4 launched in October, allegedly to steer clear of Red Dead Redemption 2.
Activision will likely want the game available from the off on PS5 and Xbox Series X (due for release in late 2020), having opened the current console generation with Call of Duty: Ghosts back in 2013. Expect more information in the coming weeks as developers and publishers host their own streams in lieu of E3 2020.
New Call of Duty news and rumors
Here's all the latest news and rumors surround the new Call of Duty:
While its sequels veered into both near and far-flung futures, the original Black Ops was entirely set in the Cold War conflict of the 1960s. The title suggests we’ll be returning to that period, and suggests that rumors of a reboot could be correct. Will we be rubbing shoulders with JFK again?
Warzone, Call of Duty Modern Warfare’s battle royale mode, has begun setting up a puzzle involving all of its locked bunkers.
With enterprising players glitching into them to find Cold War-era spy aircraft, it looks as though this is all part of a project building towards a full reveal of this year’s game. It wouldn’t be Call of Duty without leaks, after all.
Patch notes teaser
The Call of Duty subreddit noted that Modern Warfare 2019's patch notes reference redacted information and “Protocol Yellow”.
These have been deciphered and reveal references to sleeper cells and “Project Nova” – both key plot points in the original Black Ops game.
Still on track
During the company’s earnings call on May 5, Activision COO Daniel Alegre confirmed that the 2020 title is “on track for release later this year” despite the “challenges” the studio is facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A number of Treyarch staff members have been removing Twitter headers. That might sound completely unrelated, but in the past has suggested a reveal is coming soon. Games marketing in 2020, you’ve got to love it.
New Call of Duty: what we want to see
After last year’s successful Modern Warfare reboot and the success of Warzone, things are looking rosier for the Call of Duty franchise than they have done in some time.
While the series has always been about explosions and people barking orders, Black Ops (and to some extent its immediate sequel) offered fun, off-the-wall spy shenanigans that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Black Ops offered a surprising twist and an ambiguous ending, and we’d love to see the new Call of Duty game go into those kind of unanswered questions.
Basing the game in the Cold War also allows for some overlap with the Vietnam war, and allows for plenty of opportunities for stealthy missions. This could make the campaign arguably more varied than any of recent game in the series.
In terms of multiplayer, our main gripe with the Modern Warfare reboot was its map selection which tended to promote camping strategies. With a rich history of multiplayer maps in the Black Ops franchise, we’re hoping this year’s game can continue that lineage.
Finally, Zombies mode is a must – it’s been a pillar of every Treyarch Call of Duty since it was a bonus mode in World at War, and it’s always the place where the developer goes truly wild with its creativity.