An interview with Infinity Ward’s co-studio heads describes the process involved with making Warzone, the pressure of pitching it to Activision, and how it was never meant to “step on Treyarch’s toes.”
The idea of Warzone seems like such a basic concept and you wonder why it took so long to fashion it. Fortnite launched in July 2017, and it would be nearly three years until Call of Duty followed suit with its own fully-realized version of battle royale.
Black Ops IIII’s Blackout mode certainly captured some of this vision, but Warzone is an all-encompassing experience that truly captures the magic of the last man standing format and is heading for Season 3.
Yet the 2017 vision for Warzone almost proved too much as it required a massive undertaking – casting doubt in Activision minds.
In the interview with Washington Post, Infinity Ward’s Co-Studio Heads, Patrick Kelly & Dave Stohl, described how Call of Duty: Warzone was created and pitched to Activision executives.
Kelly states as part of the interview that Call of Duty: Warzone’s development pitch occurred in early 2018 when Infinity Ward leads convened with Activision executives to pitch this idea.
Warzone’s code name at the time was Magma.
Kelly re-called some parts of his pitch for the interview. “Okay, so here’s the thing,” Kelly said, reenacting his pitch to the Activision executives. “We want to have the same fidelity [in ‘Warzone’] as the rest of the game. And we want [players] to be able to go in every one of the buildings. And we want to have these [mission] contracts and we want to have really unique geography all over the world.”
The ambition behind Warzone was big at the time.
“And, by the way, this is going to be a massive art undertaking. And, by the way, this would be a massive technical undertaking. And, by the way, we don’t have the gameplay entirely figured out yet. And by the way …”
“Some people were concerned, like, have you gone too far with this? You know, is this too big a bite to take?”
He notes that the building of Warzone was not meant to “step on Treyarch’s toes,” but rather, the focus of Warzone was to become a battle royale to better fit and match Modern Warfare’s world.
Blackout was focused on Black Ops 4, and it’s world, and Kelly believed the Modern Warfare experience needed a different take.
“[Blackout] was never the concern,” Kelly said. “The concern was like, ‘So, let me get this straight. You don’t have the tech sorted yet. You don’t have the bandwidth to do the art for the thing yet, and you don’t have gameplay entirely sorted yet.’” He told Activision executives: “But we will!”
The actual development of Warzone started in very early stages in late 2017, Kelly says, with the idea of having a fictional city of Verdansk. The popularity of PUBG and Fortnite during that time period ignited the entire industry to bring out versions of battle royale experiences to compete and match up.
The Washington Post story describes how Infinity Ward started its development. They wanted to take a real environment and city and bring it to life at a massive scale never done before in Call of Duty.
The game kept getting new buildings, locations, and they expanded the map to the point where it got too big.
“It’s funny, because it was starting to get out of control,” Kelly said. “What happened was there are some builders working on this and they just kept building, building, building. We were going to end up with this space that was going to be miles and miles and miles of city. It was like, whoa this is getting away from us here. We’ve got to rein this in a bit. And part of the reason was that we knew we were going to have certain physical limitations, you know, like how many players can you actually support in the world?”
“So we started building the space,” Kelly said. “And we still didn’t know precisely what we were going to do with it.”
Kelly did not mention if the original pitch included the game being free to play or if that came with how the industry changed and Activision’s need to adapt.
Call of Duty: Warzone officially released on March 10, 2020 and now has over 100 million players.
We’re over one year into Warzone’s release, and the game is integrated with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Infinity Ward handed off a lot of the development of the title to Raven Software, who has been supporting the project since its initial development stages.
Image credits: Activision
Activision cuts ties with voice actor of Ghost, Jeff Leach, after sexist comments resurface
Activision ends relations with the re-casted voice actor behind Ghost.
Activision has cut all ties with Jeff Leach, the voice actor behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Ghost Operator, after sexist comments made by Leach resurfaced on social media.
Jeff Leach was the voice actor behind the Ghost character in Modern Warfare 2019 and Warzone. The entire original Modern Warfare cast was re-casted for the 2019 reboot, and Leach voiced Ghost when the character was added as an operator in Season 2 in February 2020.
The news of Activision ending their working relationship with Leach comes as sexist comments made by Jeff Leach have resurfaced online after streamers and community members were questioning why Leach still had partners within the industry.
A Twitter thread posted shows sexist comments Leach made about streamer ZombiUnicorn in 2017, as well as other more recent comments during a stream on Facebook Gaming, and asked why he still has partnerships with Facebook Gaming and Activision.
Leach has been streaming on Facebook Gaming as an official partner in 2020 and has been frequently streaming Warzone.
One of the clips shows Leach, while playing Call of Duty: Warzone, saying, “I love how it’s always like some dirty, dirty, gross f**king looking emo b**ch who looks like she f**king has no chance of getting a bit of d**k in her.”
These clips are believed to be from a live stream that occurred in December 2020.
ZombiUnicorn since replied in their own video response on Twitter, asking why Facebook and Activision still have partnerships with Leach.
In a new statement sent to CharlieIntel on May 8th, Activision says they have ended all working relationships with Jeff Leach and “condemn” all of his remarks.
“Sexism has no place in our industry, our games or in society,” Activision says in a new statement. “Activision is no longer working with Jeff Leach. We strongly condemn these remarks. We are committed to delivering a fun and safe experience for all players.”
Facebook Gaming has not commented on Jeff Leach’s comments at this time.
What this means for the future of Ghost Operator in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone remains to be seen and was not addressed in this statement.
Feature Image: Jeff Leach Twitter
Warzone devs tease “immensely popular” Modern Warfare attachment coming to Cold War snipers
The Warzone developers have teased that a Black Ops Cold War version of a popular Modern Warfare sniper attachment could be arriving in the future.
Raven Software teased in the latest set of patch notes for Warzone that an equivalent to a popular Modern Warfare sniper attachment could be coming to Black Ops Cold War snipers in the Call of Duty battle royale.
May 7, 2021, was an exciting day for Warzone, as Raven Software applied the latest update to the game that made a significant amount of changes.
The Warzone developers also took the time to tease some upcoming changes to Modern Warfare weapons and the mysterious arrival of a Black Ops Cold War version of a fan-favorite Modern Warfare sniper attachment.
This tease of a Black Ops Cold War version of an “immensely popular” Modern Warfare sniper attachment came under the changes for Combat Recon barrels for Black Ops Cold War snipers in the May 7, 2021, Warzone patch notes.
“As we continue assess the place of Cold War snipers within Warzone, we realize there is much work to be done. In addition to improving the overall efficacy of these weapons and attachments, we will also be taking a close look at their optics,” said Raven Software.
“This includes addressing attachment pros where there are few, if any, use cases,” Raven Software continued. “In specific… we may see a Cold War equivalent to an immensely popular Modern Warfare sniper attachment very soon.”
It remains to be seen what Modern Warfare sniper attachment Raven Software is teasing could potentially come to Black Ops Cold War snipers.
The developer made a specific reference to the optics of the Cold War snipers, so perhaps an equivalent of a Modern Warfare optic for the long-range weapons could be coming to the Black Ops ones.
Still, there is also a possibility that it could be a Cold War version of the popular Modern Warfare tac laser attachment.
We will update this article with any new information regarding what this possible mysterious Cold War version of a popular Modern Warfare sniper attachment could when new information is made available.
Image Credits: Activision
Ranking the 10 best Call of Duty maps ever
In nearly 20 years of Call of Duty games, which maps do we consider to be the absolute best? Find out as we rank the top 10 CoD maps ever.
After playing Call of Duty games for so many years, it’s often crossed our mind, which is the best CoD map of all time? So we’ve gone through them all, and come up with what we believe to be the 10 best ever, and ranked them.
Between Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Raven Software, the franchise’s main developers have created some astonishingly good maps over the years. Some have stood the test of time, with some becoming recurring features in multiple CoD games.
We decided to take the unenviable task of going through every single Call of Duty online multiplayer map and trying to pick the top 10 ever. Some CoD games don’t feature at all, and that doesn’t necessarily mean they were bad games, it’s just that some did it better.
Here is our official ranking of Call of Duty’s 10 best maps ever.
10. The Pines
Black Ops Cold War probably won’t go down in the annals as an all-time great, but it’s had plenty of highspots, including The Pines.
A throwback to a certain, classic 1980s film, The Pines has a great environment to explore with frantic battles in shops, lots of verticality, several perch-type spots, and the middle of the map is very accessible thanks to walls and its fountain.
Also, see where it ranked on our list of the best Black Ops Cold War maps!
Modern Warfare 2 gave birth to the craziness of 360 no-scoping, quickscoping, and various other ridiculous sniping tricks that would become permanently etched in the early days of YouTube.
Lots of players we know now got their start using Highrise to climb to fame, and that’s also because it’s a great map. You can always use either building to become engaged in heated battles and use them for range before inevitably flying down to the rooftop below for even more conflict.
On the other hand, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s Bloc is probably the finest example of a sniping map in the series’ storied history.
Its predominant feature is the two opposing, war-torn apartment blocs that are quite literally set up for a battle of Sniper Rifles. It’s always great fun moving from window to window and changing floors to vary your attack. If that wasn’t your thing, then Bloc has plenty of avenues to storm both buildings and move around the edges of the map to ambush.
Before “1v1 me in the Gulag“, there was Rust. Taking the idea of a small map from CoD4’s Shipment, Rust still manages to create a small playground but added so many possibilities.
From its stairs-esque shaft to the ladder taking you to the top, there are so many ways you could get the jump on your opponent. Rust also has a myriad of crevices to move around in, making this tiny map feel massive.
Rammaza is not only a bright spot in an otherwise divisive 2019 Modern Warfare reboot, it’s also just a classic Call of Duty map.
With three different levels of fighting possible, a multitude of different ladders and stairs to allow fluid traversal, Rammaza is just big enough and has all its obstacles in the right place. It’s a great map on any game mode and one that we’d definitely like to see return.
There isn’t a wasted space in quite a sizable Strike map. The spawn points are well-hidden and it doesn’t feel bare in any parts.
It has several key spots such as the iconic middle building, the kitchen area, the houses near each spawn, and there are genuinely so many different ways to play it. Search & Destroy was a particular delight to play on Strike, and it’s aged very well.
Raid might be the most scenic and stunning map on this list with this luxurious hollywood home boasting incredible architecture, mega-expensive sports cars, and even its own basketball court.
The map just feels unique and underlines this by allowing you to swim under its pool. It’s well-connected by the middle’s garden area and again, firefights can literally take place anywhere on the map. It was one of Black Ops Cold War’s first classic maps to be added to the game, and that’s because it’s still incredibly popular to do this day.
3. Firing Range
Another smaller map that manages to cram so much into it that it’s hard not to love. The concept is great as we’ve found ourselves on these practice ranges in multiple CoD games, so now actually trying to kill people on it feels apt.
Firing Range is a hotbed for high-scoring games, but unlike a map such as Nuketown, Firing Range feels fair and doesn’t feel like you’ll be spawn-trapped for multiple deaths in a row. It’s definitely the best “small” map in Call of Duty history and we’re sure we’ll be seeing it for multiple games to come.
To many, the top spot is always going to boil down between one of two maps, and our number two spot goes to Terminal. If the action had perhaps been locked down to only the outside or inside, then Terminal wouldn’t fair so well.
But thankfully it doesn’t, and it leads to lots of crazy matches with close-range combat, long-range sniping, and everything in-between. Terminal perfectly manages to capture the balance of gameplay, whilst providing a cool backdrop at the same time.
The best map honor goes to Crash. If the sight of that destroyed helicopter doesn’t make you feel nostalgic then you probably never played Call of Duty 4. Infinity Ward’s take on modern warfare changed first-person shooters forever, and Crash is symbolic of this.
Gone were the days of the arena shooter, Crash represented a new era of detailed, intricate, multi-channeled maps with new ways to play each time. Whether you stayed at the top of the street to snipe down a lane, or headed to the bottom to ascend the three-story building, Crash had everything and more to make a map you wanted to play time and time again.
Which is why we believe it’s the best map in Call of Duty history.
Also, check out our 5 best Call of Duty games ever ranked: Full tier list too.
Image credits: Activision / Infinity Ward / Treyarch / Sledgehammer Games
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