Call of Duty Warzone’s most recent update finally laid bare a mystery that had plagued players since its release earlier this year. Mysterious bunker doors that wouldn’t previously open can do be breached by finding a mysterious Red Keycard item in crates. Then a secret 11th bunker can only be opened by figuring out a code scattered around the huge Verdansk map on a variety of ringing phones. That particular bunker features a nuke, one that many expect could result in a world-altering change to the entire map soon. Players have yet to uncover the next steps of this puzzle (what does the countdown do? What about the red button?), and it’s unclear if there’s some way to solve it yet or if players are just waiting for something like the start of next season. You can have a look at the puzzle so far below:
But what’s the purpose of this whole metagame, aside from a bit of fun and mystery for intrepid players to discover? Well, Call of Duty Warzone could be setting itself up to tease and ultimately reveal Treyarch’s Call of Duty 2020. Rumors and reports have persisted that the next Call of Duty is a Black Ops reboot, with the most recent one saying that the title is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. The bunkers, countdown clock, and nuke all seem to be themed around that Cold War-era, which could point to the game slowly integrating elements for the upcoming Black Ops game.
According to a report from VideoGamesChronicle, that’s exactly what Warzone is doing. Sources from within Infinity Ward to VGC that the nuke will indeed create some kind of massive map change via an in-game event, culminating in the reveal for Call of Duty 2020. They compare this to the island-ending event that allowed Fortnite to transition to its new island in Chapter 2. But the connections won’t stop there. After all, Call of Duty: Warzone has more than 60 million players. The free-to-play Call of Duty is now considered another pillar of the Call of Duty franchise (alongside Mobile and the premium yearly entries). This means that updates will connect its world more and more to the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, letting it run alongside the new game.
In an interview with GamerGen, Infinity Ward Narrative Director Taylor Kurosaki said, “We’re in kind of uncharted territories here. Call of Duty has been on a very regular cadence for many, many years, and Warzone has made us rethink exactly how best to release new content and how to integrate it.” Those worried that Warzone might be phased out with the upcoming release don’t have to be concerned. It seems it’s got a lot of staying power. Kurosaki went on to say that Warzone will be the one constant: “Warzone will be the through-line that connects all of the different various sub-franchises of Call of Duty. It’s going to be really cool to see how the different sub-franchises sort of come in and out of focus, but Warzone will be the one constant.”
If you want an example of how serious Activision and Infinity Ward are about Warzone, look no further than how the game currently aggressively handles cheaters. There were also previous reports that Call of Duty: Warzone will make the leap to next-gen right at launch, so players don’t need to worry about leaving the game behind when they go to PS5 or Xbox Series X.