Call Of Duty: Warzone Mobile Is A Separate Game, Not A Port
Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile (formerly known as Project Aurora) received its proper, finalized title during GameSpot’s recent Swipe mobile showcase, but today, during Activision’s Call of Duty Next event, the game was fully unveiled. Activision is hoping to offer a genuine Warzone experience with 120 online players, a huge map, vehicles, and mechanics like the Gulag, all on iOS and Android devices.
You can see the game’s trailer below, but we also had a chance to speak with Activision’s VP of mobile, Chris Plummer, about its plans for Warzone Mobile and clarify exactly how cross-progression will work between Warzone and Warzone Mobile, what will happen to the battle royale mode currently available in Call of Duty Mobile, and whether this is considered a port, or a separate game.
Are you ready to share when Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile is releasing?
Chris Plummer: We’ll be out next year. We haven’t released a fixed release date, so more on that over time. But right now we’re revealing the gameplay for the first time. People have hands on it and are checking it out during the live stream event. And then over time we’ll see more of the experience and next year we’ll be out there for everybody.
Is Warzone Mobile considered a port of Call of Duty: Warzone?
No, it is not a port. We have shared technology. We have a lot of advantages, but we’re making a mobile-first experience. Our priority is to make the best possible experience for mobile players, regardless of which platform you typically play on. There are plenty of players that mobile is their first and primary platform. There are other folks who are going to come over because they play Warzone on another platform and might want to get an extra match in and we want to make sure that the game works for everybody.
But at the end of the day, it’s on mobile. And mobile is our priority. That means that controls, the tuning, the way things feel–all of that has to feel natural and native to the device. This is why, for example, we are supporting synchronous cross-play between iOS and Android devices exclusively, and we’re avoiding that imbalance that would come with cross-play between mobile and PC or mobile and console. We want to have a level playing field so that it’s the best possible experience for all platforms without compromising any of the tuning or the control experience or any platform.
How does cross-progression work? How does playing Warzone Mobile benefit your account in Warzone on console and PC?
It definitely starts with having your shared Call of Duty account across platforms. The most important thing for us is we want to make sure the time you spend playing Call of Duty is time well spent. We know everyone’s time is precious, so whether you are playing on Call of Duty: Warzone on mobile, or you’re playing Warzone 2.0 on console or PC, we want to make sure that the time you spend and the progress that you make is honored across platforms.
For example, the battle pass–if you have a battle pass and unlock a new operator or weapon through your progress in the battle pass, that progress will carry forward to the other platforms. So, if you unlock an Operator on PC and you come on to mobile, that operator will be there and the other way around. This is what we mean, but it starts by honoring players’ time.
Warzone Mobile is being treated as a separate game. Does that mean it has its own lore and story?
We haven’t gotten into the fiction of the world yet. Those sorts of details will be coming forward in the future. But really it’s our aim here to have a much more deeply connected experience on the content side than we’ve been able to do before on mobile. So, you’ll see a lot of familiarity, especially in the battle pass, but at the same time, as I mentioned before, it’s a mobile-first experience.
We’re prioritizing mobile, as you know. It needs to feel right. It needs to feel native to the device. So, to that extent the way you engage with mobile is different from other platforms. The session lengths, the number of sessions a day, the play patterns, that way you actually play, where you play–all these things are unique and different, so that means some of the content will also be different. For example, there might be events or content that you would get on mobile that might not be on the other platforms because we’re trying to make sure that we’re filling the needs of the mobile play patterns.
Do you have an example of a mobile-exclusive event that might come to the game in the future?
We’re not ready to discuss those details at this time.
Will Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile be controller compatible?
Right now, touch screens are our priority because obviously everyone who plays on mobile can play with the touch screen. But it’s our intention to also support controllers and we haven’t announced the controllers we’re supporting yet, but that is our intentions.
I’m going to quote your press release to you because I just want more clarity on one point, but it reads, “Leveraging new unified technology across Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 and Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile, players can share many social features (like friends and chat channels) and cross-progression enabling a shared battle pass for a connected Call of Duty experience.” What does that mean exactly? What is a unified technology? Is it shared content? Or is there actual technological breakthroughs made for the mobile version based on previous and upcoming Call of Duty games?
That’s a great question. There’s absolutely shared code. When there’s an innovation, for example, if you get interrupt reloads, and change that up, if that’s a change to the to the franchise, that’s something that we can bring to mobile, as well. If there’s a new animation system or new rendering capability or, you know, any cool innovation on the technology side because we’re using shared technology, those capabilities can be adapted to mobile.
Now, not everything is necessarily going to work well on mobile. There could be innovations that don’t feel right where we wouldn’t bring that stuff over. But there’s a huge number of advantages here in everything from the way the game looks and feels to the way it plays and certainly the content pipelines, as well. Being able to deliver the latest, greatest Operator’s weapons, when there’s big innovations on other aspects of content–we can bring that to mobile players if that’s what the mobile players want.
So, there’s another Call of Duty mobile game, obviously. Is there going to be overlap with that game and Warzone Mobile? Will you be able to unlock things between the two mobile games?
We’re very fortunate to have the awesome success of Call of Duty Mobile, and we are looking forward to continued success with CoD Mobile. We think Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile is a different experience. This more connected experience is tapping into things like shared progression into the large Warzone style of gameplay and they’re going to live side by side.
We’re very excited to have the good fortune of two amazing projects like that. But we haven’t discussed any details on a lot of plans beyond that.
The battle royale mode in Call of Duty Mobile that currently exists–that will continue forward even with Warzone being out there in the world?
Right now we have no plans to change anything like that. We feel like they are very different modes that play very different, and there’s plenty of room for a Warzone-style battle royale experience on mobile.
How do you approach touchscreen controls on a on a shooter? That’s a big challenge. Do you feel like you’ve solved that puzzle, so to speak? Good shooter touchscreen controls?
Shooter controls on glass is a challenge. It’s been around for over 10 years. I’ve personally been dealing with this challenge for over ten years. It’s definitely come a long way. Everyone is still trying to unlock the optimal control paradigm. I feel like we’re closer than we’ve ever seen anyone get before.
A lot of it comes at the hands of having access to all the iterations of call of Duty tuning capabilities over the years that are now available to us in the shared technology base. We also have developers that have been working in mobile shooters for ten years or more that bring that knowledge and insight and iterations into the into the mix. That helps us tremendously.
But honestly, you have to prioritize it from the very beginning and that’s something that we have prioritized. The controls were the very first thing to get prototyped. They’re the very first thing that go into the game, and the very first thing that we started researching with a real live players, getting their feedback so we can improve it. I feel very confident where we are right now, but it’s an ongoing mission to continue to try to perfect controls on glass. We’re further than I’ve ever seen any game get before, but we’re never going to stop trying to make it the best it can possibly be.
One of the things that Apex Legends Mobile did, which has been successful, is it has some exclusive characters you can only play in the mobile version of the game. Do you think Warzone will ever see something like that? Exclusive mechanics or that you will only get in the mobile version of Warzone?
I think given that we’re trying to make the best-in-class mobile game, the best experience we can offer mobile players, that players can expect to see some customizations and personalization and features and things that would only be on mobile. We have not disclosed what those might be at this time, but it’s definitely our ambition to not only capture the best of the best for the franchise, but also continue to evolve that experience to be the best possible mobile experience, too, and that means combining some mobile innovations with what we know works across the franchise with other platforms.
Do you think we could ever see a version of Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile come to Nintendo Switch?
Right now, we’re 100% dedicated to making the best possible experience on iOS and Android devices for mobile. We haven’t made any announcements for other platforms, but stay tuned. And if we choose to announce such a thing, you’ll hear it first.
I talked about this in our previous interview, but I’ll just reiterate, which was that the level of effort that we’re putting into the game is pretty massive. We have four studios, internal studios across Activision, that are dedicated to working on mobile. Plus, we have a huge ecosystem of other internal Call of Duty studios who are developing the shared technology and developing the other new titles that we benefit from. Being able to coordinate that effort across multiple studios has been challenging, but also a huge advantage. Does it really deliver that triple-A quality that called it is known for? It kind of takes an incredible effort and we’ve been able to benefit from proven Call of Duty studios that have tons of experience, specifically in this technology and developing Call of Duty. You’re combining that with brand new studios that we’ve either built or acquired to be 100% mobile- focused with expertise specifically in mobile shooters, and kind of putting those two things together, we feel like we have been able to assemble a pretty awesome force of talent and a team that is really passionate about making the best possible mobile game for the future. I’m really proud of all the work the entire team across all these studios has been able to put together and deliver this incredible game. And when people see it and play it, I think it’s going to really feel like a whole new generation for the style of game.
For more, check out our coverage of Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile’s reveal and trailer.