With the 2020 installment of Call of Duty now on the horizon, we break down everything we know so far about the upcoming FPS title, from setting, developers, zombies, multiplayer and more.
CoD 2020 setting
First off, we'll deal with the development team and rumored setting, because the two are essentially intertwined. Despite Call of Duty's three-year-cycle suggesting it is the turn of Sledgehammer Games, it has been confirmed that the project was handed to veteran CoD developers Treyarch, off the back of unknown issues at Sledgehammer and Raven Software.
Following on from this, it has been all but confirmed that the game will be set in the Cold War. This makes sense off the back of the Treyarch developed Black Ops series, the first of which is set in the Cold War. While the game is not set to be a sequel to any of the Black Ops series, it is said to tie into the series as a "soft reboot".
Black Ops Cold War, or just Black Ops?
The game's name is not confirmed, but early leaks have indicated that its working title is 'Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War'. However, in the weeks that followed, the name 'Black Ops' has emerged. This would follow the title formula of 2019's Modern Warfare, which copies the names of the 2007 title that started the MW series.
The links to the Black Ops series appear to be hinted at in Modern Warfare, with deconstructed RC-XDs found in the Warzone map. The RC-XD is a kill-streak that has featured, in some form, in every single Black Ops game to date.
Given the likelihood of the game's setting in the Cold War, it stands to reason that the campaign will also fit into this narrative. The most militaristic conflict in the Cold War was the Vietnam War, which the game may revisit from an American perspective, as it was in the original Black Ops.
Other options include the Korean War or the Soviet-Afghan war but, given the tendency of Call of Duty to depict American protagonists and Treyarch's past campaigns, it certainly seems most likely that the game will focus on the Vietnam War. We will perhaps see the covert Black Ops unit placed into Vietnam.
The name 'Call of Duty: Vietnam' actually surfaced as an early potential title, but rumors have since moved away from this. The setting, however, remains prominent in a number of leaks.
Details about the next Call of Duty's Zombies mode are the most scarce. In fact, it is not even guaranteed that the game will have an undead mode. While it has become something of a staple of Treyarch games, other studios' titles have had Zombies mode, but then moved away from it.
Further questions have been raised about CoD 2020 and a potential Zombies storyline. Jason Blundell, one of the pioneers behind the mode, left Treyarch back in February. Similarly, Lee Ross, who transitioned over to Treyarch from Infinity Ward following Infinite Warfare, also confirmed his departure from Call of Duty in early-May.
One of the few things we have heard about CoD 2020's Zombies is that Black Ops II map TranZit looks likely to return, with a completed remaster allegedly being found in game files. This will likely be accompanied by some new maps but, at this point, it's too early to provide any more details.
The game's multiplayer, similar to the campaign, should follow suit and utilize Cold War environments. Hence, it appears it will be most similar to the first Black Ops in terms of aesthetics and weapons.
One of the few things we have had confirmed is that there will be no jet-packs in this year's game. It certainly seems obvious now given the rumored setting, but David Vonderhaar actually confirmed this back in January, prior to the circulation of any rumors.
The RC-XD in Warzone also appears to hint at scorestreaks of a similar nature to the first Black Ops game. Leakers have also suggested that a host of fan favorite scorestreaks from the Black Ops series will return, including Attack Dogs, Napalm Strike, Chopper Gunner, UAV and Counter-UAV.
There have also been limited rumors of a 'pick-10' create-a-class system returning, which would replace Modern Warfare's Gunsmith class customization. The 'pick-10' system has been present in Black Ops II, III and IIII. Rumors so far state that Field Upgrades will return, but there will be no specialists.
Both TheGamingRevolution and LongSensation claim that a host of infamous Black Ops maps will be returning in CoD 2020. These include Nuketown, Summit, Jungle and Firing Range, all of which also made a return in Black Ops 4.
Other maps that have leaked include one named 'Tank', and another set on a boat, that will apparently be a very small, three-lane map.
This appears to confirm the rumors further, as all of the maps easily fit in with a Cold War narrative. Some players appear concerned at map repetition but, given the incredibly fast turnaround Treyarch will have to make, remastered fan-favorite maps appear an inevitability to flesh out the game.
Call of Duty developers have already commented that Warzone will remain a constant throughout the next few years, acting as a "thread" to link the different games together.
These links appear to have been cemented by YouTuber TheXclusiveAce, who stated that Warzone will be the main battle royale in CoD 2020. This appears to have quashed rumors that Black Ops 4's Blackout would make a meaningful return.
CoD 2020 Release Date & Teasers
Currently, there is no confirmed reveal or release date for Call of Duty 2020. Black Ops 4 was released back in October of 2018, but Treyarch had an extra year to develop that game because of Sledgehammer's WWII.
Activision have previously stated that the game has incurred no delays and is still set for an Autumnal release, but recent rumors have cast doubt on this, and suggested we could see a delay.
We are still waiting for our first official teasers regarding CoD 2020. June, with no information, is unheard of in CoD terms.
That rounds up everything we know about Call of Duty 2020 so far! We will continue to update you on new developments as they emerge.