Leak points to surprise 2023 Call of Duty, and it's Modern Warfare III
A November 10 launch with two betas and campaign early access looks likelyBy Daniel Sims 8 comments
Rumor mill: This year was originally going to be the first in almost two decades without a full-fledged Call of Duty release. However, recent reports indicate plans have changed, and Activision will launch a direct sequel to last year's Modern Warfare II this fall. The reports also include details on gameplay modes and pre-release trial events.
Sources told Insider Gaming that Activision will release Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III this November. The title would mark a shift from the publisher's previously announced plans and an unusual direct sequel following its predecessor by only a year.
Activision had planned for 2023 to be somewhat of an off-year for the franchise, the first year since 2004 without a new Call of Duty game. Last year, the company announced Sledgehammer Games would instead release a sizable paid DLC package for Modern Warfare II, which launched last October. Downloadable content is unusual because the series shifted to offering Battle Passes starting with 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Sledgehammer's project has reportedly grown into a full conventional release. More recent rumblings suggest the new game is a direct sequel to Modern Warfare II, featuring a campaign, multiplayer, a zombie mode, and a new battle royale map.
The zombie mode will resemble an upgraded version of Call of Duty's existing Outbreak play style but may arrive as a standalone free-to-play title. The game's first season of content – arriving on December 5 – will also feature a new map for Warzone 2, based on the Las Almas environment from the Modern Warfare II campaign.
Two betas will precede the full release. The first will be available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 from October 6 to October 10, while the second will include those consoles, Xbox Series consoles, and PC from October 12 to October 16. Modern Warfare III will also repeat last year's practice of releasing the campaign a week early – on November 2 – with the full launch on November 10. The release would complete something of a circle for Sledgehammer, which started working on the franchise with the original 2011 Modern Warfare 3.
The reports come as Microsoft tries to salvage its deal to acquire Activision for $69 billion. The UK's competition regulator blocked it last month, but the two companies vowed to appeal the decision, hiring the late Queen Elizabeth II's former lawyer to represent them. Meanwhile, the European Union is expected to announce its approval of the acquisition on May 15, while the US Federal Trade Commission is still opposing it.