Modern Warfare 3 is bringing back Warzone's most beloved map, but not in the way you're hoping

Call of Duty is going back to Verdansk, but not in the way most Warzone players would hope. Activision dropped the official campaign trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 today, and while it's definitely another globe-trotting story, fans were quick to notice that at least part of the campaign will take place in locations from Warzone's first map.

Near the start of the trailer, Captain Price and friends scale the exterior of a coastal prison, an iconic location on the Warzone Verdansk map. There are even glimpses of the interior that almost exactly match the layout of the old map, though we can probably expect some alterations (things tend to blow up in a CoD campaign, after all). The other big locale I noticed was Verdansk Stadium, the crown jewel of year one Warzone that was famously a closed off dome until a later update blew up its ceiling and added an interior. Well, it looks like Captain Price is gonna blow it up again.

Nostalgia seems integral to Activision's playbook this year. Details in today's Modern Warfare 3 dev blog suggest the game won't be as ambitious as usual with its multiplayer, opting instead for cross-progression with last year's Modern Warfare 2 and a slate of maps that'll get people my exact age pretty excited—all 16 launch maps from the original Modern Warfare 2 (2009) will be there, reimagined and modernized for 2023.

The only catch is that classic maps will be the only 6v6 Modern Warfare 3 maps at first. Lead studio Sledgehammer Games has 12 additional 6v6 maps in the works, but those will come in seasonal updates. Ground War will also make a return with three unique battle maps, and there'll be a big open-world Zombies map that kinda sounds like Black Ops Cold War's Outbreak mode.

modern warfare 3

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

As for other multiplayer details, Sledgehammer's sequel is largely focused on tweaks to movement and rules. Sledgehammer's list of changes read like a wishlist written by sweaty players who didn't like Infinity Ward's efforts to slow down Call of Duty

  • You can cancel slide animations (i.e., “slide cancel”), but slide cancelling does not reset tactical sprint.
  • You can cancel partial reloads during an animation (i.e., “reload cancel”) to immediately return fire.
  • Mantling is faster, and you can mantle while sprinting.
  • You can fire during and immediately after sliding.
  • Tactical sprint durations are increased (the exact duration depends on the weapon being used).
  • Tactical sprint recharges while sprinting.
  • Classic minimap behavior, with red dots indicating when an enemy is firing an unsuppressed weapon.
  • All chosen perks are available at the start of each match.
  • The Covert Sneakers perk allows for silent movement (assuming you’ve chosen the correct footwear).
  • Core multiplayer health is increased to 150, lengthening the yime-to-kill (TTK). Hardcore mode is not affected.

Such is the cycle of CoD, even in these unprecedented times for the series: you can't get too attached to any one feature or mechanic introduced in a new CoD game, because it'll probably get backspaced the next year and never mentioned again.

Sledgehammer is actually expanding on one feature that PC Gamer executive editor Tyler Wilde and I glommed onto last year—the canted laser sight attachment that allows players to ADS from the hip will return in the form of "Tac Stance," an aiming style that you can toggle at any time with seemingly any gun. Here's how it'll work:

  • The operator unshoulders the weapon and holds it in a canted firing position.
  • You can toggle in and out of Tac-Stance dynamically while aiming down sights.
  • Tac-Stance trades precise accuracy for improved mobility and handling.
  • Some spread to your firing will occur, best described as a middle ground between full ADS and hipfire.
  • It is designed to be used in aggressive, close-quarter combat situations.
  • By default, you fire in Tac-Stance while Sliding.

Significant changes, though I'll be curious to see if nostalgic maps, cross progression, and movement tweaks will be enough to beat the impression by some that Modern Warfare looks like a glorified, $70 expansion of last year's game.

Check out the full blog for a few other details shared, like expanded operator customization and more on the Zombies mode designed by Treyarch. The Modern Warfare 3 Steam page is now live, too.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

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.