'Call of Duty: Warzone' goes back in time for its next update

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For its next update, the free-to-play game "Call of Duty: Warzone" is going back to the '80s.

Publisher Activision unveiled the brand new map for "Warzone," called Verdansk '84, following an event culminating in a modern version of the Verdansk map getting nuked.

The transition of Verdansk marks the shift of "Warzone" to Season 3, as players welcome a colorful return to the destination's more pristine times.

Players will go through an infiltration sequence where they detonate a nuke, then rewind time to drop them directly into a version of Verdansk from nearly 40 years ago.

The revamped map will boast seven new locations, including five featuring updated layouts. For example, the airport, which was shown destroyed in Season 2, looks practically new, with a more accessible second floor ideal for sniping.

"It's a completely different layout, and it feels completely different, but yet it's familiar to players," said Amos Hodge, creative director at Raven Software.

Other spots include the Summit, which was the location of the dam in Season 2, and will feature functioning .

The big update arrives as "Call of Duty: Warzone," which launched just over a year ago, reaches a key milestone: 100 million players. "Warzone" is the franchise's spin on the battle royale genre made popular by games like "Fortnite" and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" (PUBG), dropping dozens of players onto a map fighting to survive.

Call of Duty" was already the most popular video franchise in the U.S. According to research firm NPD Group, "Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War" was the best-selling game of 2020. The franchise overall has been the best-selling in the U.S. for 12 straight years.

With last year's introduction of "Warzone," the game's base of players has only grown, said Activision President Rob Kostich during an interview with U.S. TODAY.

"'Warzone' has really become a for the franchise," said Kostich. "In many ways, I guess I would think about it as a welcome mat to Call of Duty."


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