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Call Of Duty Warzone Mobile Could Be CoD’s Missing Link

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Call Of Duty Warzone Mobile Could Be CoD’s Missing Link

Call of Duty is already one of the biggest and most successful games on the market, and its profile and reach stands to grow ******* still with the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile on March 21. There is of course already a popular Call of Duty game on mobile–the appropriately titled Call of Duty Mobile–but Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile aims to stand apart with a number of key differentiators. First and foremost, Warzone Mobile has cross-progression with Modern Warfare III and Warzone on PC and console, so as long as you link Activision accounts, your progression and (most) purchases will move with you. This isn’t the case in CoD Mobile.

Despite what its name suggests, Warzone Mobile features not just the Warzone battle royale experience, but also standard multiplayer. For Warzone, Activision is hoping the power of nostalgia will draw in players, as Warzone Mobile launches with the beloved Verdansk map that helped launch Warzone four years ago this month. This map supports 120 players, and the second is Rebirth Island for 48 players. On the multiplayer side, players can drop in to fan-favorite maps like Shipment, ****** House, and Scrapyard, and Rust is coming to the game this April.

Warzone Mobile is developed in-house at Activision, while CoD Mobile was made, and continues to be supported by, China’s TiMi Studios and Tencent. CoD Mobile and Warzone Mobile will operate at the same time, and CoD Mobile will get more content for its playerbase. But Warzone Mobile promises to mark a new era for Call of Duty on mobile devices, SVP, Co-Head Of Mobile at Activision, Chris Plummer, tells GameSpot in a new interview.

SVP, Co-Head Of Mobile at Activision, Chris Plummer

Content updates are planned to go live at or around the same time across Warzone Mobile and MW3/Warzone on console and PC, store bundles are the same in content and price, and leveling in Warzone Mobile also applies to Warzone and Modern Warfare III. There are some key differences, of course, as the mobile game won’t look as impressive as the console/PC version, and you can play with touch controls or a Bluetooth controller, among other setups.

Plummer told GameSpot he sees Warzone Mobile as the “missing link” that Call of Duty has needed over the years to truly offer a connected experience at home and on the go. He said he envisions a scenario where a Call of Duty PC/console player might want to grind for levels or camo but can’t because their partner or roommate is using the TV. Or maybe they are traveling and don’t want to lug their console with them. Warzone Mobile, paired with a controller and played on a TV with a USB-to-HDMI cord, could bridge the gap. With Warzone Mobile, players can grind from pretty much anywhere and their time and investment will be honored thanks to cross-progression.

Read on to learn more about Warzone Mobile, its development and features, and what’s to come after launch. You can also

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that begins on March 22, promising special content and rewards to usher the game into the world.


GameSpot: How are you feeling right now with release right around the corner?

Chris Plummer: We’re feeling really good about launch. We spent a lot of energy trying to take feedback from the community through that whole process [of pre-release testing]. And you’re also collecting a lot of data you’re finding which devices need more attention than we expected, all that kind of stuff. We’re super excited by it. The game has never been better. We’re super stoked. And it’s the beginning of a long journey. It’ll be exciting to continue to grow the game over time.

Can you talk about building this new game from the ground up for mobile?

I think the priorities for us with this game was to really try and connect our audience across all platforms in a way we’ve never been able to do before. And in order to do that, we have to have a really, truly authentic experience, from the way it looks and feels, to the way it plays, the way it responds. And so that meant we have to build it on the Call of Duty technology stack. And that was a huge investment.

Because, you know, Call of Duty is a highly optimized high-performance engine designed to deliver this kind of liquid-smooth FPS experience that kind of, you know, blows your mind visually, and with sound and all that. And so to get all of that to adapt and work well on mobile was really an early priority for us. And then in parallel, it was about the controls. The advantage we have is by using the Call of Duty technology. A lot of things were already baked in there in terms of 20 years of secret sauce that has been refined over the decades to get to the Call of Duty experience we have now and we really just need to worry about adapting it for feel on mobile.

So you’re making sure everything from the responsiveness and the framerate and the tuning and everything feels right for a mobile device. We’re also connecting it very deeply in ways that we’ve never been able to do before, from systems and under-the-hood stuff, but then really visible things like the content, and the final pass and the progression and the things you can get in the store. So now, for the first time ever, the same stuff that you would see in a AAA premium release on console or PC, that content that battle pass, operators, as well as weapons are now also on a phone or tablet, built by the same hands that made the PC and console version. So it’s all part of the same pipeline. So getting that level of authenticity–it’s not a port, but it’s authentic. And it’s the real stuff like this is the real content, it is the actual progression, you’re leveling up that *******, you’re grinding out that camo, you’re getting that tier in the battle pass on mobile, and it also accounts [for] your other Call of Duty platforms and vice versa. So that’s massive.

Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile | Official Gameplay Launch Trailer

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And then the third piece is the community aspect of it. Ultimately, it comes down to this is a social experience, and playing Call of Duty is something that’s inherently something you do with friends. And we wanted to make sure that was very deeply connected at that level. So all of your Call of Duty friends are there, from day one. You log in with your Call of Duty account, your friends list is there, you can squad up and drop into a match together, no problem. And even if your friends prefer to play on another platform, which they very well may do, you can still chat with them throughout the day on the mobile device. So we’re keeping you in touch with your CoD friends, through the mobile game experience, whether they play on mobile or not.

And you know, all of this kind of completes the circle and allows us to do something that’s never been done before in Call of Duty–and that is kind of unite the whole community through this mobile experience. And now you have another way to play every day, right? You can get an extra session and you can grind out another camo you can get into your quick fix. Or if you’re a mobile-first player, which most people in the world actually are, you have the best possible AAA experience you can get anywhere in the world. Now with the latest technology that’s going to be on the cutting-edge now and into the future.

How much do the Mobile and console/PC teams talk and discuss?

It’s part of the conversation, as is any other platform. We have four studios within our CoD ecosystem that [are] focused more specifically on Warzone Mobile. Two of those studios, our mobile-only studios, like all they do is mobile. And then two of those studios are what we call cross-platform studios, meaning they also work on the console/PC titles. In addition to mobile, we have dedicated teams within those studios working on Warzone Mobile. So that’s like the four primary studios. And then we also have our internal technology groups like Demonware, which is our back end group; and Central Technology Group, which maintains the Call of Duty engine. There are several other groups that put a significant amount of work into Call of Duty Warzone mobile specifically, but touch all the projects. And then you have studios like Sledgehammer and Treyarch and Infinity Ward and all the other studios and ecosystem who are building Call of Duty games and creating content for the battle pass and creating content for the next release, or bundles or whatever. And they’re also touching it because they’re building the innovations that move the franchise forward. And we’re adapting those innovations to mobile and so that there’s a lot of coordination that’s required for any kind of big AAA project.

And I think just because of the scale of the Call of Duty ecosystem, it’s perhaps even more complex than it would be on most titles. But it’s sort of how Call of Duty games are made anyway. And now we have another platform to consider.

When it comes to which content is and isn’t shared, when we’re not doing cross-progression content, or kind of shared content, it’s really for specific reasons. Like, for example, on mobile, the play patterns are just different, right? There’s a lot of things people do that’s similar across platforms. But there are some things that are different.

And an example is mobile players might play three sessions a day. Whereas on your console, you’re probably not playing three unique sessions a day, you just play differently, you might binge on the weekends, or however you do it; it’s probably not the same as [how] you play as a mobile player. And so, again, this isn’t a port–we’re making the best possible mobile experience we can for mobile players. And if you play on other platforms, too, you’re gonna jump in and have a blast with it. But things like events that are designed to tap into the mobile play pattern… we usually have rewards you might get through that mobile-specific event that are exclusive to mobile. So that would be an example. Things like the battle pass are shared across all the platforms, the big franchise bundles and things like that big IP integration, so you know, cool stuff from Dune or Warhammer or whatever, you get that on all platforms. So the things that I think matter to most people who are familiar with the CoD franchise carry back and forth. And what has always been the case for the franchise, even before mobile came along, is that there’s gonna be cases where there’s a platform-specific thing that’s exclusive to it, and we’ll have those cases too.

Are the store bundles priced the same across platforms?

That’s all part of the cross-progression. For all the platforms, you’re gonna have a similar pricing experience.

Can you talk about the decision to not include cross-play between Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile and the console/PC game?

There’s no technical reason why we can’t do it, other than it not being a good experience for mobile players. Yeah, that’s really what it boils down to. We’ve talked to a lot of players, first and foremost, before we ever started writing a line of code to understand what do people actually want? And if we’re doing another game, and we’re trying to connect the audience and stuff, how do we, how do players feel about that? Where expectations and progression really came out… cross-play specifically almost never came up as an ask. And it’s like a novelty feature that has its place and [is] something we could try to do in the future. But what it means is everyone has to be on the same movement tuning, for example. Everyone has to be on certain types of tuning and, and feel factors also have to be paid to a specific platform. And mobile was different enough.

Where we’re seeing that happen with a couple other games, mobile was generally the worst experience when it’s not the platform you tuned for. We don’t want that for our players. And our players don’t want it either. So that’s really the primary reason.

In the future, you may see us experiment with [cross-play between mobile and console/PC]. But from a balance and, you know, best-on-glass, best mobile experience perspective, it’s not something that was aligned with that goal. And so that’s why we’ve chosen not to do it.

The power of nostalgia, even recent nostalgia, is real. So can you talk about bringing back Verdansk to Warzone Mobile and what that entails?

We’re super excited about Verdansk. It’s one of our favorite maps ever. It’s kind of where Warzone was born. And I think to bring this experience into the world, we wanted it to feel as momentous as the original launch of Warzone. And so what better way to do that than with the map that launched Warzone? Now over time, what you may see is–because it’s a very connected experience–Warzone Mobile and Warzone on other platforms become more similar.

Right now all that cross-progression content we talked about is the same. The battle royale maps are a little different. And you know, that’s intentional, but our goal over time is to make those differences less and make the synergies greater. And we’re really excited by that. But it’s hard not to love Verdansk. The POIs are so famous. Dropping into Superstore or Downtown or just how iconic a lot of those set piece locations are [and are] so much fun to play in. And we needed a map like that we could get up and running, performing well on mobile, and also have that as 120 players, which on mobile is a really big deal. There’s never been anything like that, where you’re not just playing with bots, but you’re actually playing with real humans in those battle royale spaces. And so it’s really fun to drop in like that into Verdansk and ****** against real players.

Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile – Operation: Day Zero Trailer

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Can you discuss the specific features and elements for Warzone Mobile, or share any other interesting insights from development?

So I think what you’ll find inside Warzone Mobile is a combination of the authentic tried-and-true battle royale experience that you expect with [the] name Warzone on it, as well as some modifications we’ve made [such as] new playlists that are really designed with mobile specifically in mind.

So for example, our Mobile Royale is the battle royale experience with a shorter timeline. And so when you get into the match, instead of waiting for the first circle to collapse, it’s already in that collapse state. So the match is done in 10 minutes. So it’s a much faster battle right now. And it’s a very popular mode for us in our limited release territories. We tested 15-minute battle royale, five-minute battle royale, a bunch of different time slices, because we know a lot of what’s cool about mobile is you’ve got your phone with you all the time, you can pop a session in whenever you’ve got the time, but it might not be 20 minutes. So you kind of need to have some different options for people to get in the session that works for their available time. So the mobile royale came out of that. And it’s not just making the time shorter. I mean, there’s a lot of other tuning implications to make the game feel right, with that quickened pace. But that’s an example of a mode that came out of trying to make it mobile-first.

We have some other game modes and playlists. We tried some casual modes and things that we just didn’t like, ultimately, how they felt. And so we’re not releasing them. Part of building a game is you try stuff. And not all of it works as well as you thought. So the mobile royale worked out great. This casual mode I’m referring to, I’m not going to give the code name for it, but we decided it wasn’t up to our standards. And so we didn’t release it. We have other mode variants that we’ve worked on and developed that we are releasing. So as part of the live operation, there’s always map and mode rotations that are going to happen to keep things fresh. In addition to those staple modes, like the 20-minute quads, and the mobile royale I mentioned, we have Rebirth Resurgence. We have a Mosh Pit [in] multiplayer. So there [are] certain modes that will always be there. And then there’s other playlists that will kind of rotate in and out depending on the live operation or event that’s running.

The console/PC game has extensive live-service plans. What are your plans for updates/live-service down the road?

Yeah, I mean, over the past year of limited release, we’ve been releasing with each update that console/PC has as well. So there’s a mobile update right along with it, and we’re on the same technology. We have the same seasons. We do some mobile-specific stuff. We have mobile-specific events, we have some mobile-specific content. There are some things about the live operation, certainly features in the game control configurations, there’s a lot of things that are different. But when it comes to the core updates to the ecosystem, Warzone Mobile is part of the ecosystem. And it’s an important part of it. And so, when there’s a new season or there’s a new update, you see something from Warzone Mobile as well. And you know, updating even more frequently than that, because we’re prepping for launch. But to answer your question, it is in sync with the releases of the other platforms. So you’ll see them, generally the big releases, at the same times.

Who are you targeting for the potential audience for Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile? Existing mobile players, newcomers, or what?

We have a very ambitious audience perspective on this game. And we see the opportunity is massive in several areas. One, there’s a huge number of players on mobile around the world that play battle royale games, primarily, that are dying for something new and fresh, and there’s going to be nothing else like it out there when Warzone Mobile releases globally. So it’s one of the most popular genres in the world, and they haven’t had an opportunity to play Warzone. So we think the largest opportunity is actually engaging the entire world that loves to play battle royale games on mobile, we’re talking just tens of millions of people that like to do that. In addition to that, because this is part of connecting our audience, and that was a priority from day one, we absolutely want players of Call of Duty to feel like they have an opportunity to now play Call of Duty anytime. So this isn’t just about your lunch break. This is about anytime, because for a lot of people mobile is the primary platform.

“We have a very ambitious audience perspective on this game. And we see the opportunity is massive in several areas.” — Chris Plummer

For established Call of Duty players, mobile isn’t necessarily their primary platform, or maybe they don’t play on mobile at all. So this is now a way that you can legitimately grind out some XP, get a new camo, hit that achievement you’re almost going to get whenever life allows. So it doesn’t just have to be one of your sit-down times at your home theater doing your game session, because nobody’s home. Now it could be you’re sitting with your significant other, they’re watching the latest reality show and you’re grinding out camos or getting the win Verdansk. And that can totally happen. That time matters. And so we think that behavior is maybe more unique for Call of Duty players who already have investment in a franchise, already have the battle pass, or maybe they don’t have it yet, but now they’re gonna get it because they realize they can progress more more times during the day than they used to.

So we really care about the battle royale audience on mobile, which is massive, and [for] the Call of Duty audience around the world, we want to give them more ways that they can engage with the franchise and stay connected with their content.

And then the final piece is we just want to invite people who just haven’t really gotten in yet or have been on the fence. So if you haven’t started Call of Duty yet, there’s no better time because we have the ultimate game for mobile devices. It’s also a kick-**** experience on all platforms for people who just play the console or PC versions, and we have now this missing link to complete the circle, so you can play it on any platform you want and make progress. That content is now more valuable content because you can use it in more places. You can express yourself in more places now. Because we’re available on mobile too.

Anti-cheat is a big deal on console, and with mobile, you’re opening the game up to a potentially gigantic audience. Does CoD Warzone Mobile use Ricochet, and what are your thoughts in general on cheating for Warzone Mobile?

I think the short answer is that Warzone Mobile is totally plugged in as part of the Ricochet system and that team is actively monitoring Warzone Mobile. It’s always an arms race against cheaters. It’s never-ending work. So [we will] always be working on that. But we have the best people in the industry working on it.

Switching gears a bit, Activision Blizzard and all of its franchises were recently acquired by

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. Can you talk about the impact or effects of the
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acquisition on this upcoming release?

I mean, the truth is, it’s really just been one of support. We haven’t had, let’s say, intervention, or interference or anything like that. We have a pretty bold ambition for this game, that we see you living for at least 10 years, and we’ve not had anything other than support for that ambition. I think our interests are aligned. We’re doing something cool that’s not already there in the portfolio. We all want it to succeed, and we all want people to play the game and have a blast, anywhere, anytime. So it’s been positive.

Something else people want to know is what’s going to happen to the existing Call of Duty Mobile?

I mean, from our perspective, we’re super proud of Call of Duty Mobile. It has been an amazing game, and it’s going to continue to be an amazing game. We are 100% committed to its success now and into the future. And we’re also really excited to be expanding our portfolio and offering Warzone Mobile. So both games have a lot for us to be excited about, but we’re totally committed to Call of Duty Mobile.

Is there anything else that you want people to know, or that you haven’t said yet with the release coming up?

I think what’s interesting about the game is we watch more people play it… there’s moments in life where Warzone Mobile can change the game for you. For example, if you’re traveling, and you’re at the hotel, and you’re bored, and you wish you had your console or whatever to like, play a ‘real’ [puts up airquotes] game. Well now, you’ve got the world’s most powerful portable console in your pocket. And you can literally play Call of Duty Warzone Mobile and project it to your TV, or if you have a USB-C-to-HDMI [cable], you can do it that way. And play a game that rivals the visual quality of some other platforms, like right there on a big screen. And if you have a Bluetooth controller, like your Xbox controller, or whatever, you can link that up and literally play it that way. And it’s just we’re seeing people in the office do that. And so it’s kind of fun to just see the different ways people are playing the game.

And again, this is nothing to replace the way people normally play their games. But it’s just opening up these new kinds of opportunities, these new ways that I think haven’t registered before because there really hasn’t been anything at this level of fidelity and expansiveness. So we’re excited about that. And we’re excited about how this moment in time, where sort of everything between device technology, our engine technology, where people are in terms of the social dimension of life, and all these things are coming together. This game is at the right moment. We can really connect a lot of people. We have 50 million people plus pre-registered, so we all know somebody who’s gonna be playing the game. So the best social moment is going to be [this] weekend when everyone’s in there playing a game and your friends are all in there. And we can now have this shared experience. So we’re looking forward to seeing how that takes off.

Now there’s more ways to play Call of Duty than ever, whether you’re stuck in a hotel room, or you’re just sitting on the couch with somebody who wants to watch something you don’t want to. It’s all there.

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#Call #Duty #Warzone #Mobile #CoDs #Missing #Link

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