Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s latest season launches today, bringing with it a slew of changes to its Warzone battle royale spinoff and the addition of fan favorite character Captain Price as seasonal exclusive skin. The season, the fourth since the game’s launch in late October, was delayed earlier this month amid demonstrations against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd.
The season was supposed to launch on June 3rd, but publisher Activision paused the release for roughly one week as countless other video game companies similarly canceled planned press conferences and other announcements taking place online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Developer Infinity Ward first made the official announcement of the revised release date on Wednesday, saying the new content would be going live later in the evening.
Video game companies have been criticized for attempts to address the national conversation around racial injustice and police violence in ways that often feel ham-fisted or lacking in meaningful contributions. But fans did celebrate Call of Duty last week for Activision and Infinity Ward’s decision to include an unskippable “Black Lives Matter” message screen.
For Warzone players, the battle royale game will see three substantial changes to the core mode. The core game is getting three randomized events that can take place in the middle of any match and drastically affect the course of the fight. The first and most dramatic is called Jailbreak, and it will involve the resurrecting of every knocked-out player in the game, including both those waiting for a one-on-one match in the Gulag and those who’ve been knocked out entirely and relegated to spectator mode.
The other two events are called Fire Sale and Supply Chopper. Fire Sale will temporarily decrease the price of buy station items by up to 80 percent. In some cases, items will be available for free, like reviving fallen teammates. The sales will last 60 seconds. The Supply Chopper, on the other hand, will arrive randomly in matches and drop coveted loot if you’re able to take it down and safely claim the rewards. It won’t fire back at players, but it can prove a distraction enemy teams can capitalize on if you’re not paying attention.
Infinity Ward has designed these randomized events to happen roughly at “mid-game,” which is any point after the first drop kits land and before the Gulag respawn mechanic has closed roughly 20 minutes into a match.
In addition to the the new randomized events, Warzone is also getting a juggernaut-specific game mode, which involves racing other players to don the ultra-powerful upgrade, and a 50-versus-50 mode reminiscent of Fortnite’s Team Rumble. Those experimental new modes will be limited to Season 4 for the moment.
These are welcome changes to Warzone, which has proved immensely popular with tens of millions of players registered since its launch in March. Although the game doesn’t change at quite the pace of battle royale leader Fortnite, Infinity Ward has proved it can adjust the game quickly, experiment with new ideas, and keep the experience fresh and interesting in ways some slower and more staid competitors, like Apex Legends, cannot. The developer hasn’t yet experimented with the large map changes that are now signature hallmarks of the genre, but those may be on the horizon.
As for the core Modern Warfare multiplayer game, Season 4 brings its usual collection of new maps and game modes, including an interesting-looking capture the flag variant called Team Defender. But what most players are probably most excited about is the addition of Captain Price as the season’s new operator skin. Price, an established character in the original trilogy of Modern Warfare games and a central figure in the new reboot’s campaign, has been confirmed for weeks now thanks to a mix of leaks and the strange but genius addition of the character’s voice actor, Barry Sloan, on the personalized message platform Cameo.
Price is available as an operator skin instantly if you purchase the battle pass, and you can progress through the 100 levels throughout the season to unlock some customization options once you max out the pass. Infinity Ward is also adding characters Sgt. Kyle “Gaz” Garrick and Roze as unlockable operators as well.