Skip to main content

Call of Duty: Cold War Season 1: Everything we know so far

black ops cold war season 1
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty is about to have a big day: Warzone is getting its first new map, Cold War is almost doubling its map count, and tons of new weapons and modes are being added across both games. This is all part of the Season 1 update, which will likely set the template for how CoD games operate in the future. As the Warzone and Cold War unify progression, it’s clear that CoD has crossed the line into a service game hub with Warzone at its center.

As a side effect of the whole 'two games as one' thing, it's become somewhat hard to parse what content is coming to which game. This guide will clear things up. Below, we've started with an overview of the Season 1 roadmap for both games, followed by breakdowns of what's coming to each game.

When does Call of Duty: Cold War Season 1 begin?

The massive Season 1 updates for Cold War and Warzone are dropping on December 16, 2020, though you may get the update the day before that depending on your time zone. Activision says all Season 1 content is “expected to be available” by 11 pm PST on December 15.

Cold War & Warzone Season 1 roadmap

cold war season 1

(Image credit: Activision)

Cold War's first season is looking pretty massive: tons of new maps, weapons, modes, challenges, operators, and blueprints. That's not even to mention the hefty Warzone drop, including the free-to-play battle royale's first new map and over 30 new weapons crossing over from Cold War.

Cold War & Warzone are unifying

One of the wildest happenings in modern CoD history is the rank/weapon unification coming in Cold War Season 1. Starting December 16, everyone's rank in both Cold War and Warzone will reset back to one while keeping all previously unlocked weapons, attachments, and cosmetics.

The new unified rank is divided into two parts: standard military ranks (the first wave of levels needed to unlock weapons, perks, etc) and prestige levels that can only be reached after reaching the top military rank. Prestige ranks will reset every season, but military ranks won't.

Instead of grinding through prestige layers as a one-time show of dedication, players will now have a stack of levels and challenges waiting for them every few months. It’s not only player ranks carrying over, either. Weapon levels will be synchronized too, meaning every gun camo or attachment earned on Cold War's MP5 will automatically be unlocked in Warzone, and vice versa.

Everything coming to Call of Duty: Cold War

Three new operators (also in Warzone)

black ops cold war season 1

(Image credit: Activision)
  • Stitch (Launch week): An agent of Perseus and overseer of Rebirth Island
  • Bulldozer (In season): US Marine with a specialty and close-quarters combat and hostage extraction
  • Zeyna (In season): Senegal-born DGSE Mobility and Heavy Weapons specialist

Three new operators are coming to Cold War/Warzone with one at launch and two more to be released throughout the season. The marquee day one op is Stitch, an agent of Perseus tasked with restoring Rebirth Island following the events of Black Ops 1's campaign. He’s also got a bone to pick with Russel Adler (probably because Adler took his eye during a torture sesh).

Five new weapons

  • MAC 10 (SMG)
  • Groza (Assault Rifle)
  • Streetsweeper (Shotgun)
  • Sledgehammer (Melee)
  • Wakizashi (Melee)

The first weapon pack coming to Cold War is a bundle of series classics. I can’t wait to try out the Groza and Streetsweeper shotguns that I remember fondly from other Black Ops games, but I'm most excited to run around the map with a damn sledgehammer. What is this, Rainbow Six Siege? It’s too bad that both melee weapons and the shotgun are coming later in the season.

Three new modes

  • Gunfight 2v2 (Launch week)
  • Prop Hunt 6v6 (Launch week)
  • Dropkick 6v6 (In season)

As previously announced by Treyarch, Cold War is getting one of Modern Warfare’s standout hit modes: the intense 2v2 Gunfight. Since small maps are required for the mode to work, four Gunfight-specific maps are also on the way (more on that below). The gloriously goofy Prop Hunt mode is also making a triumphant return with what looks like the option to become an entire arcade machine. Dropkick rounds out the modes with a twist on VIP that limits the player holding the “special” briefcase to a pistol.

Eight new multiplayer maps

black ops cold war season 1

(Image credit: Activision)

Gunfight 2v2 maps

  • Game Show
  • ICBM
  • KGB
  • U-Bahn

black ops cold war season 1

(Image credit: Activision)

6v6 maps

  • The Pines
  • Raid
  • Nuketown ‘84 Holiday

black ops cold war season 1

(Image credit: Activision)

Fireteam 40-player maps

  • Sanatorium

If you count all of the new maps debuting with Gunfight, Cold War's map pool is nearly doubling in Season 1. As it concerns the 6v6 maps that the majority of Cold War modes support, we're looking at two brand new maps and a snowy twist on Nuketown.

Two new Zombies modes

black ops cold war season 1

(Image credit: Activision)
  • Jingle Hells (Launch week)
  • Cranked (In season)

Zombies isn't getting a new map in Season 1, but it is getting a few holiday treats that sound fun. Jingle Hells gives Dis Maschine a festive makeover and litters the map with a “variety of festive firepower” like snowballs that can freeze zombies where they stand. Cranked Zombies is almost exactly the same as the standard multiplayer mode, but applied to Zombies. Go too long without killing a zombie and boom, you’re dead.

New vehicle & scorestreak

Tactical Raft

A new “fast-moving” boat found on the Sanatorium Fireteam map.

H.A.R.P. 

This is essentially the Advanced UAV from Modern Warfare that pierces through the Ghost perk and also displays player direction on the minimap.

Prestige levels and Prestige Shop

Dedicated players who blaze through the Season 1 prestige levels earn special emblems, calling cards, battle pass tier skips, and challenges. You can spend your Prestige Keys to change the appearance of your prestige icon, including throwback icons to past CoD games. Here’s the rundown of what it'll take to earn it all.

  • Level 50: New Prestige, Emblem, Prestige Key, Weapon Blueprint, and Battle Pass Tier Skip
  • Level 100: New Prestige, Emblem, Prestige Key, and Battle Pass Tier Skip
  • Level 150: New Prestige, Emblem, Prestige Key, and Battle Pass Tier Skip
  • Level 200: New Prestige, Emblem, Prestige Key, Battle Pass Tier Skip, Master Prestige Calling Card, and all Season Challenges unlocked
  • Level 250-1,000: New Prestige Key every 50 levels

Everything coming to Call of Duty: Warzone

Rebirth Island, Warzone’s first new map

(Image credit: Activision)

Nine months after release, Warzone is getting its first full-fledged new map: Rebirth Island. The dreary chemical facility is a throwback to the first Black Ops campaign (the facility that produced the deadly Nova 6 gas) and will be much smaller than the 150-player Verdansk map. “Expect intense, close-quarter action with a similar playstyle to Warzone’s Mini BR mode as Rebirth Island comes to Warzone,” the official Season 1 blog post reads.

Even if the island is mini, Rebirth Island will support Trios and Quads (with Duos strangely missing).

Resurgence

Resurgence is a new Warzone mode exclusive to Rebirth Island that gives players a second chance without the need for the Gulag. Dead players will be automatically redeployed as long as the rest of their squad can survive the “Rebirth Countdown.” No word yet on how long that clock is.

Over 30 Cold War weapons

warzone cold war

(Image credit: Activision)

This is the big one. At the start of Season 1, every Cold War weapon will show up in Warzone already unlocked (as long as you've unlocked it in Cold War). Blueprints are coming too. Counting melee weapons, launchers, and Season 1's new guns, that’s over 30 weapons. For weapons that exist in both games already, like the AK-47 or MP5, there will be separate Cold War and Warzone versions with their own progression.

It's still unclear if Cold War's weapons will translate 1:1 into Warzone. The Warzone Pellington sniper may look the part, but does it feel right? Will my skills with it in Cold War carry over directly to Warzone's different ballistics?

Two new Gulag maps

black ops cold war season 1

(Image credit: Activision)

As Warzone expands its map pool, so too will the Gulag. Two new Gulag maps are coming in Season 1, the first of which is a rebuilt Nuketown facsimile reminiscent of the “Amerika Town” area in Cold War’s campaign. Exclusive to Rebirth Island is the second map, a desolated lab below the map's prison blocks.

The same Gulag rules still apply to both new maps, but it's unclear if Verdansk's prison showers are being retired for good. Will Gulag maps come in and out of rotation, or maybe cycle randomly?

Attack helicopters arrive (later)

Warzone is also getting a brand new vehicle in the attack helicopter. This is the first helicopter added post-launch, and also the first with attached miniguns flanked either side. The exist helicopter has historically felt weak in Warzone (it’s great for getting around, but you’re asking for death), so a heli with a bit more firepower could be huge.

Morgan Park

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.