Call of Duty: Warzone launched worldwide across all platforms on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020. This free-to-play, Battle Royale experience from Infinity Ward, the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise, would go on to see massive success in the years to come. Having amassed over 50 million players in its first month, Warzone was here to stay.
Fast forward to December of 2021 and we're just days away from the launch of Caldera, the first all-new Battle Royale map to be added to Warzone since its launch. But before that happens, let's look back at where it all started...
When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare released in November of 2019, players were cast into an ultra-realistic Campaign that sprawled various countries and locales, a competitive Multiplayer experience lined with classic and original play spaces, and an ambitious Spec Ops series set in a rich, semi-open-world environment. However, there was more to the latter mode than initially met the eyes of most players. The Spec Ops and Ground War environments were all connected.
Leading up to the surprise release of Warzone, rumors were a common occurrence, many of which would come true - many not. To supplement these rumors, however, out-of-bounds exploits began to show players that the levels featured in the aforementioned large-scale modes formed one, large area that suspiciously resembled a Battle Royale map.
Enter Verdansk, a major city in Kastovia, a fictional country featured in Modern Warfare.
Modern Warfare Season Two
Once Warzone finally fell into the hands of players in March of 2020, Season Two of Modern Warfare was underway. This revision of Verdansk would ultimately serve as the original Warzone map.
Modern Warfare Season Four
Two Seasons following the launch of Warzone, Verdansk would see its first distinguishable changes. However, to the displeasure of many, these changes were rather insignificant to the map - a trend that would continue for months to come.
In the Southwest portion of Verdansk, specifically in the Promenade East and West zones, an expansive set of train tracks were added. This track would make its way North toward the Verdansk Hospital before ultimately circling back around. Notably, there was no train present on these tracks, which both intrigued and disappointed players.
Modern Warfare Season Five
Season Five of Modern Warfare and Warzone saw the introduction of Shadow Company, a Tier One private military company and Allegiance sub-faction lead by Marcus "Lerch" Ortega. Known members also included Velikan and Rozlin "Roze" Helms.
Shadow Company is called in to clean up the uncleanable messes, and take out targets other outfits can't touch. We're a magnet for missions too sensitive to ever get declassified and too messy for those who don't know when to bend the rules of engagement. To put it bluntly, we get the job done.
- Marcus "Lerch" Ortega
In the Season Five introduction cinematic, Shadow Company would utilize explosives to infiltrate the Verdansk Stadium where it was believed that Victor Zakhaev, a Terrorist, was carrying out operations. This destruction was reflected in-game with the interior of the Stadium being open to players for the first time.
Modern Warfare Season Six
Despite serving as the final Seasonal update of Modern Warfare, Verdansk would see very little change in Season Six. The addition of a couple small and insignificant structures could be found near the Stadium and Military Base.
Behind the scenes, much more significant changes were in progress.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War released on Friday, November 13th, 2020. Developed by Treyarch, this fully-featured annual release would see content updates across its Multiplayer and Zombies modes. Infinity Ward, the original studio behind Warzone, would ultimately go quiet as development of their next title began. Meanwhile, the fate of Sledgehammer Games was unknown at the time. This left Raven Software, formerly a support studio, to lead development on Warzone.
As Season Three of Black Ops Cold War rolled around and Raven had fully taken over production on Warzone, Verdansk was given a new layer of paint as players traveled back in time to 1984 to follow the narrative. Despite unsubstantiated rumors and a suitable environment known as the Ural Mountains being featured in Treyarch's release, no new map would be added to Warzone at this time aside from the Rebirth Island alternate experience.
With the integration of Black Ops Cold War content in Warzone, Verdansk '84 would serve as the primary Battle Royale map for the foreseeable future. Although this was simply the Verdansk that players had become familiar with in a different time period, several new points of interest would be added.
From the massive radar array to the early stages of construction stadium, this was a new take on Verdansk.
80s Action Heroes
In the Season Three Reloaded content update for Black Ops Cold War and Warzone, players were introduced to a limited-time event known as 80s Action Heroes. Throughout the duration of this event, changes were made to the Downtown portion of Verdansk to incorporate the Die Hard (1988) crossover event.
Most notably, the SKN Tower found in Downtown would be replaced by the Nakatomi Tower. Aside from being an accurate depiction of the tower featured in the 1988 film, Nakatomi Tower would feature a vastly improved interior comparatively.
Black Ops Cold War Season Four
Season Four of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone reverted Verdansk back to its original 1984 form, minus the 80s Action Heroes exclusive points of interest. Included in this revision of Verdansk were unexplained changes to minor and out-of-the-way buildings scattered throughout the map. These changes are most noticeable with the planes at the Airport.
One significant change to Verdansk made during this time were the Crash Sites from the limited-time Ground Fall event.
The debris of various satellites could be found throughout Verdansk. These new points of interest were largely intended for the limited-time Ground Fall event and had little effect on the map.
Black Ops Cold War Season Five
Season Five of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone would continue the trend of lackluster changes to Verdansk. Throughout the Season, the only changes of note were to the outlying structures found around the map.
Black Ops Cold War Season Six
Akin to the destruction of the Stadium in Season Five of Modern Warfare, Season Six of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone seen a similar, significant change to Verdansk. Brainwashed by Vikhor "Stitch" Kuzmin, Russell Adler would carry out a malicious project that would ultimately lead to a ravine splitting the stadium and a large portion of Downtown Verdansk.
At the time of writing, it is believed that this will be the final revision of Verdansk that players can experience. Caldera, an all-new Battle Royale map set on an island, approaches... We'll see you there!
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