It sure is a wild time to be a Call of Duty fan: Activision announced in a new blog post that the ties between Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War (opens in new tab) and Call of Duty: Warzone (opens in new tab) will run deeper than we thought. The two games, plus Modern Warfare 2019, will all share the same rank progression and battle pass. That means no matter which game you're playing, you're progressing in the others as well.
To facilitate the synchronized future, Activision is resetting the rank of every Modern Warfare and Warzone player back to one at the start of Cold War's first season (aiming for December 10). Don't worry, your cosmetics and weapon unlocks will be intact, but the actual number ranks will reset and move forward synchronized with Cold War.
It doesn't stop there, either. Every primary and secondary weapon in Cold War will be added into Warzone (at some point) with synchronized weapon progression. That's a pretty wild concept, especially because Cold War and Warzone are very different games. The Cold War version of the MP5, for instance, feels very different than Warzone's. When the Cold War version is added to Warzone, will it mimic that game's sound, ballistics, and weapon handling? We are talking about games on different engines, so I imagine that level of imitation would take considerable effort.
Maintaining a single rank across all three games is undeniably cool, but it also creates some potentially strange scenarios. For instance, someone who plays Modern Warfare for an additional six months before buying Cold War would theoretically sign in and already be past level 50, having skipped every bit of weapon progression. While I see that as a bonus, others may feel like they've been cheated out of the fun of multiplayer progression. Warzone's link to both games makes sense because of shared content, but MW and Cold War have essentially nothing to do with each other.
As expected, battle pass progress is also linked between all three games. Unfortunately, this is where Modern Warfare is getting left in the dust. As far as I can tell, all future battle pass content will only be usable in Warzone and Cold War, though you can still progress the pass by playing Modern Warfare. Activision is basically sunsetting the game without saying it out loud.
Considering all of this shared content will also be compatible across five platforms with cross-generation crossplay, it's a pretty impressive feat. Activision is really throwing its weight behind Warzone. If the game can hold onto its popularity, it'll likely outlive Cold War and future CoDs to come.