Call of Duty: Warzone appears to finally be getting its much-anticipated map change, but the news seems to have arrived a little earlier than intended: leaked footage of the map is currently circulating online, and Activision is battling to contain it.
The leak was first shared by Twitter account On Thin Ice, showing footage of a work-in-progress TV advert for the new map. According to VGC's sources, the new map is due to arrive in a live event on 22nd April, with nuclear warheads blowing up current-day Verdansk. Although the original video has been removed, multiple mirrors have popped up across social media, showing what appears to be an 80s-themed overhaul of Verdansk rather than an all-new location. It includes changes to various points of interest - adding an under-construction stadium and replacing the dam with a bridge - and generally giving Verdansk more of an '80s look.
While there's been no official confirmation from Activision, the publisher has been cracking down on the leak: at least one video has been taken down from YouTube, and news site Charlie Intel says it has received a DMCA notice from Activision.
The change to an '80s-themed Verdansk to align with Black Ops Cold War seems a little late, and according to VGC this map change was indeed originally supposed to coincide with Cold War's release in November 2020, but the launch was delayed due to "several factors". Back in August last year, Warzone actually had a Cold War reveal event in which players had to shelter in Stadium to avoid being nuked, but no map changes appeared after the event. Hmm.
The prospect of a nuclear explosion to overhaul Verdansk's map has been the topic of speculation for nearly a year - nuclear warheads were found on the map in May 2020 - and there's a sense that the community is getting a little weary at the lack of change (particularly when held up against other battle royale competitors such as Fortnite). Zombies were introduced to Warzone earlier this year, however, and it feels like Warzone is finally building up to a cataclysmic transition event.