On Friday Activision announced that it was reassigning one of its leading studios. Toys for Bob, developers of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, will be operating as a Warzone support developer going forward. This raised some concerns after rumours started suggesting that some Toys for Bob employees had been let go.
However, in a response posted on Gamesindustry.biz today the American AAA publisher has confirmed that these reports are not true. Every employee of Toys for Bob will remain under contract after the transition. Some employees may have chosen to walk out for creative reasons, but Activision itself has not fired any of the studios’ talent.
False allegations against Activision
According to Activision: “Reports of layoffs at Toys for Bob are incorrect. The development team is operating fully and has a number of full-time job openings at this time.” Furthermore, the statement details that Toys for Bob will continue working on Crash Bandicoot 4 alongside Call of Duty: Warzone.
This won’t please everyone as some gamers are still annoyed about the switch of focus. At the very least though, it reassures everyone involved that they still have work waiting for them. Activision has been guilty in the past of shutting down studios unethically, but this isn’t one of those cases.
Perhaps the most well-known studio that Activision shutdown was Radical Entertainment. Responsible for the Crash Bandicoot series in the late 2000s as well as The Simpsons: Hit & Run, Radical Entertainment had an impressive portfolio. Unfortunately, Activision deemed the failure of Prototype 2 a good enough reason to shut them down.
Call of Duty: Warzone has suffered from bugs and a general lack of quality control as of late. Numerous glitches and exploits have entered the game, because main developer Raven Software isn’t a big enough studio to handle such a large project. Bringing in an experienced support developer like Toys for Bob should help Warzone overcome these issues.
The Season Two reloaded update brought with it plenty of content to the Call of Duty franchise. Both Warzone and Black Ops Cold War received a bunch of balancing changes and a new gun. What fans didn’t expect though was three new maps for Modern Warfare.
The 2019 first person shooter had not received a major update in several months prior to these maps being added. However, the addition didn’t last long. Just a few days after the update Infinity Ward removed two of the three maps. It had remained silent on the matter until now but has finally provided a much-needed update.
They are coming back
As posted on the official Infinity Ward twitter, both maps will be returning soon. According to the developer they were launched earlier than intended and still require “a bit more love,” before going live.
The maps in question are Drainage and Al-Raab Airbase. Both of these maps were leaked a long time ago but didn’t enter Modern Warfare until recently. Given the lack of updates for Modern Warfare over the last year, it is disappointing to see them removed. Hopefully Infinity Ward sticks to its word and we can try them out again soon enough.
It’s not just maps that have received this treatment either. There are three guns in Modern Warfare that are fully functioning and modelled, but haven’t been released. These are the Sykov, CX-9, and RAAL. Unlike the maps, Infinity Ward has not publicly acknowledged these or provided a release date.
Whilst it is nice to see Modern Warfare receiving updates once again, these new maps are probably not a sign that things are going to improve. Raven Software is hard at work developing Warzone whilst Infinity Ward are likely working on a new Call of Duty altogether. Regardless, the communication is appreciated and it’s nice to see Modern Warfare hanging in there.
Yesterday Activision accidently released the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow early into Warzone. It could be unlocked via an in-game challenge or purchased from the store. It However, the publisher has reversed the change and some fans aren’t happy.
Anyone who purchased the bundle has been refunded for their purchase. You’ll be able to re-purchase the bundle again when it goes live again later. Assuming it is planned to be a mid-season release, players can expect the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow to drop early next month.
It hasn’t gone down well
Had Activision simply removed the crossbow Call of Duty fans may have not been too bothered. However, the publisher has chosen to reset all progress players made with the crossbow. If you earned mastery camo on it you won’t have unlocked once the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow is released.
Unlocking Gold camouflage on a gun can take several hours. In Black Ops Cold War especially, gun levelling is very slow. This is an unusual move as in the past Activision has not punished players for similar situations. For example, some Modern Warfare players have unlocked the Sykov pistol early and have kept access to it for months.
On one hand, I can understand Activision’s position. It was an unintentional release and it likely doesn’t want anything messing up its release schedule. AAA games like Call of Duty usually have strict schedules that developers have to adhere to. It’s currently unclear why this mistake happened in the first place.
However, there was no indication that the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow was released by accident. Therefore, it seems unfair to punish the most dedicated players who put aside time to play your game. As far as we can tell, there is no plans to revert this decision. Once the crossbow releases for real next month players will have to level it up again from scratch.
As we’ve known for some time now, Apex Legends is going to support cross play. However, before now we hadn’t received an official release date on when to expect it. Thanks to Respawn’s latest update post, we now know the beta is closer than expected. You’ll be able to try out cross play as early as Tuesday, October 6.
Cross-play is becoming an increasingly popular addition in many battle royale. We’ve already seen Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite implement it and now Apex is set to follow. When it’s introduced, cross-play will let you play Apex Legends with friends regardless of platform. The beta will support PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.
The next step for Apex Legends
For many, this update is considered the next step for EA’s world famous battle royale. Apex Legends has already been responsible for implementing many genre defining features. So it’s lack of cross-play did feel a little out of place.
Cross-play will be enabled by default however users will have a toggle option to turn it off. This will be easily accessible via the in-game settings. If you’re playing on Xbox One though you will also have to enable or disable the console’s cross-play option. This can be found in the System Settings application.
Once you’re partied up you’ll have access to everything a regular Apex Legends squad would. That includes voice chat, pinging communication, and text chat. Unfortunately, this update won’t be including cross-progression. According to Respawn, this will be discussed as a potential update closer to the Steam launch later this year.
Finally, the addition of cross-play has seem some adjustments made to the Apex Legends matchmaking algorithm. When a PC player is in a lobby you will always be placed in a primarily PC populated game. This is to prevent mouse and keyboard players being matched with controller players where possible.
In the early hours last Tuesday, Infinity Ward dropped its latest update for Call of Duty: Warzone. As well as introducing the new Bruen Mk9 LMG and Gunsmith customs, it added a new contract to Warzone. Dubbed the Most Wanted contract, it has now been removed after being live for just two days.
The rapid change comes in response to community outcry slamming the decision to replace Bounty contracts. Whilst they were still available in solos, every other mode featured Most Wanted contracts in their place instead.
The problem with Most Wanted contracts
Many players were not happy with the new contract for a few reasons. For one, by removing Bounty contracts you also remove one of the largest motives for fast-paced, aggressive gameplay. Equally, the rewards for completing a Most Wanted contract were quickly drawn into question.
The idea was that when your team completes one, you are gifted with a team revive. The downside is that whilst active everyone on the map would know exactly where you were. Effectively a high risk, high reward option for skilled players to gain a huge advantage. However, when it released this was not the case. Instead, you would only revive already dead teammates meaning it is way too situational.
In five minutes, you are better off just looking around for the money to revive your team. At $4500 per person, it is not that difficult to revive multiple teammates on your own. Just focus on completing Recon and Scavenger contracts and you will get the money in no time.
This is not Infinity Ward’s first community outcry and it will not be its last. The developer has been known to ignore community issues, so it is at least nice to see them addressing this so quickly. I would expect Most Wanted contracts to return at some point in the future and when they do, who knows what the player base will think.
A couple of days ago Infinity Ward launched Warzone Season 3. This marked the beginning of a new battle pass as well as plenty of new content to go with it. However, when fans jumped online they couldn’t help but notice a glaring omission. The trios game mode was gone.
Previously, Warzone only allowed players to search for either solo or trios. To satisfy popular demand, Infinity Ward added Quads into Warzone so that teams of four could play together. Strangely though, the Call of Duty developer completely removed trios instead of making it another option. This has now been reverted after a community outcry on Reddit.
Trios are back, what about duos?
With the return of trios, fans are now asking a new question, Should we be expecting duos and, if yes, when? If the leak on Warzone’s official website is anything to go by, duos will be coming soon. We don’t know exactly when but somewhere within Season 3 seems very likely.
It will be interesting to see if duos becomes a permanent game mode or not. After all, Warzone’s biggest competitor Apex Legends is well known for only running duos as a timed event, not a core game mode. On the other hand, the likes of PUBG has always had the option available.
I have to give Infinity Ward credit for resolving this issue so quickly. In the past they’ve definitely been guilty of leaving game breaking oversights lying around for way too long. Case in point, it took them until January to even begin addressing the various Port of Verdansk under map exploits.
Looking forward, alongside the two new weapons (SKS and Renetti), players can also expect a new LMG later on in the season. Judging by its shape on the reveal poster, it’s most likely Call of Duty 4’s M249 SAW. Otherwise, other Warzone playlists will be following Trios’ addition with a shotgun and snipers only mode already confirmed.
When Warzone launched on Tuesday many players found themselves asking the same question. Why is it limited to only 150 players? Currently, you can only play in 150 player lobbies and teams of up to 3 people. However, we now know that the rumoured 200 player game modes will be coming at some point in the future.
In an interview with USA Today, Infinity Ward co-head Patrick Kelly gave various details on Warzone’s future. Most notably, the Modern Warfare dev confirmed that 200 player lobbies are coming to Warzone, just not quite yet.
200 player Warzone is on the way
According to Kelly, Infinity Ward itself is “already playing with 200 players.” Also, he makes a fair point when saying that its impressive Warzone supports 150 players from the get-go, as most other battle royale settle between 60 and 100. The biggest takeaway from Kelly’s remarks though is that Infinity Ward is planning to release a 200-player game mode “a little bit later.”
Given the sheer scale of Warzone’s map, this isn’t too surprising. It implements every Ground War map bar Aniyah Palace as well as a further six regular Call of Duty maps. Specifically, there’s Scrapyard, Vacant, Atlas Superstore, Killhouse, Broadcast, and Gulag.
It’s clear that a lot of time and care went into the development of Warzone’s map. Some players have caught on to a potential Easter egg of sorts, although details are still sparse. What we do know is that scattered across the map there are various computers you can interact with. Equally, there’s a secret bunker with a keypad you can also interact with.
The future of Warzone looks promising. As well as a 200-player update, it’s these small hints that suggest Infinity Ward has big plans in store for its battle royale. It’s possible we could see something akin to Fortnite’s seasons where large areas of the map change over time. Alternatively, perhaps a PUBG styled content release plan could be a more suitable path.