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Is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare getting a battle royale mode?

cod mw battle royale map firefight
(Image credit: Activision)

Is a CoD: MW battle royale mode on the way? Despite the launch of a brand new season, now well underway, there's only one thing fans of Infinity Ward's gritty FPS are thinking about: a battle royale mode. 

Tucked away in the launch of Modern Warfare's second phase are some strong trailer hints, plus some leaks suggesting that an upcoming evolution of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode is on its way—which looks like it'll be called Warzone. So, let's break down all the rumours and leaks floating around the internet, and speculate on what we hope a CoD: MW battle royale map could look like.

When does Call of Duty's battle royale release?

Neither Infinity Ward nor Activision has officially confirmed that Modern Warfare's battle royale mode exists, but we may already know when it's coming. A VGC report suggests that the mode will launch in early March with only a few days notice, similar to how Apex Legends launched in 2019. Based on Modern Warfare's pattern of Tuesday patches, the most likely day falls around March 10, 2020.

The battle royale mode may release as a standalone game

Also in the VGC report is the claim that Modern Warfare's battle royale mode, called Warzone, will also be playable as a free-to-play standalone game. This is the same strategy used by multiple battle royale games today, so it wouldn't be too surprising.

CoD: MW battle royale map locations

It looks like Modern Warfare is almost certainly getting a battle royale mode. If you pay close attention to the end of the season 2 cinematic—which you can watch above—you'll see a shot of soldiers parachuting out of a plane. The green gas billowing in the horizon may also be a cheeky glimpse of how the fearsome shrinking circle of death will look in the new mode. 

What's more, data miners on Reddit seem to have discovered what appears to be a lots of battle royale information, such as map locations and perks. The locations we know about so far are:

  • Dam
  • Airfield
  • Quarry
  • Layover
  • TV Stations
  • Supercenter
  • Storage
  • Boneyard
  • Trainyard
  • Hospital
  • Downtown
  • Port
  • Stadium
  • Lumberyard
  • Farm
  • Gulag

According to the data-mined details, the new mode will support up to 200 players per match and will include playlists for solo, duo, and squad queues. Of course, as these are leaks, they're by no means representative of the final mode, if it's even what we think it is.

Could this be the CoD: MW battle royale map?

A video of what looks like battle royale map has also been shared on Reddit. It shows a bird's-eye view of the terrain, which features a mixture of open, grassy spaces, as well as clusters of buildings and points of interest. 

Part of the map is dusted with snow and there are a couple of rivers with high embankments and bridges. If this is the real CoD: MW map, it seems to be relatively well-balanced for cover, and facilitates a large area for sharp-shooting snipers and close-combat aggressors alike. 

Video of Full Battle ROYALE Map from r/modernwarfare

There's a suspicious 'Classified' spot on the menu now

A 'Classified' mode has appeared in the main Modern Warfare menu, alongside Campaign, Multiplayer, Co-Op, and the Store, so our best guess is that it'll arrive sooner rather than later. Infinity Ward has yet to officially announce a battle royale mode for its newest installment, but so far the signs are promising. Considering the popularity of Black Ops 4 battle royale mode, Blackout, it seems inevitable that a battle royale will surface in Modern Warfare soon. 

Blackout released simultaneously with Black Ops 4 and was a major focus for developer, Treyarch. However, before Modern Warfare released, Infinity Ward design director Joe Cecot explained that their focus was on the core multiplayer modes, not battle royale. Now that everything has settled down after launch and a new season is in effect, it seems like the perfect time to add a battle royale mode. 

(Image credit: Activision)

What we want to see from a Modern Warfare battle royale mode

Many people switched to Blackout from regular multiplayer when Black Ops 4 released. Other battle royale games like Fortnite, Apex Legends and, PUBG have shaped the genre, so perhaps we'll see some of their innovations in a Modern Warfare version. But while Blackout included perks, wingsuits, vehicles, and zombies, there are still additional features I'd love to see in a potential next iteration.

No zombies, please

Blackout launched with zombies ambling around some of the named locations on the map. Personally, I don't see the appeal: they're just annoying when you're trying to scavenge for gear. While they dropped desirable rewards, they hindered what could've been a better experience.

Make it free-to-play

Rumours have circulated that a potential CoD battle royale mode will be free-to-play and the prospect is enticing. Having more players will keep queue times down and ensure it won't drop off too quickly. With successful battle royale games like Apex Legends and Fortnite available for free, Infinity Ward making its own available to as many people as possible is in its best interest.

(Image credit: Activision)

A range of map sizes

Blackout added Alcatraz, a map that was considerably smaller than the first Blackout map. Games like PUBG eventually dropped a range of maps to choose between to keep things fresh. Splitting the player base is always a concern here—as there's always a fan favourite that most people will queue for—hence Epic's approach of updating Fortnite's sole map often. 

New landscapes with distinct conditions and terrain makes hunting for gear more interesting, but size matters, too. Smaller maps encourage more aggressive play, whereas larger spaces can lead to camping and slower matches. If COD: MW's battle royale launches with one map, I hope it finds a sweet spot between scavenging, map traversal, and combat.

Ranked matches

Sure it's nice to hop into a casual game with some friends and have a bit of fun, but a dash of healthy competition in a ranked playlist gives matches urgency and consequence. Raising the bar by introducing ranks may encourage people to stay invested in the game.