Call of Duty: Warzone – Developers Reveal the Idea Behind the Gulag and Locations That Never Saw the Light of Day

Published 05/01/2021, 11:17 AM EDT


Over a year ago, Activision released their highly successful Battle Royale game, Call of Duty: Warzone. This title was the developer’s second attempt in the BR genre after Blackout. The game became a massive success, along with the lines of COD Modern Warfare. Fans loved the various features present in the title, such as the massive world of Verdansk, and the iconic Gulag. But during a recent interview, the developers revealed that both the features could have looked massively different.

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Call of Duty Warzone developers talk about locations that could have made it

Patrick Kelly and Dave Stohl, co-studio heads for Infinity Ward, recently talked about the massive process behind the creation of Call of Duty Warzone. In the Washington Post interview, the duo revealed that they started working on it in 2017, but the idea only got green-lit in early 2018.

After the approval of the project, codenamed ‘Magma’, the duo looked for inspiration behind the game’s geography. They wanted to make sure that the map looked realistic to match the feel of Modern Warfare. In the end, they chose to replicate actual cities for the map. Few of their options included Ukrainian city Donetsk and Afghanistan capital Kabul.

“We looked a lot at Donetsk, Ukraine, and we looked at other cities, similar cities, and we started talking about it. Originally I wanted to build Kabul.”

Kabul was the strongest contender for the title because it solved the developer’s problems of requiring less memory for the similar textures and material sets of the desert environment. But having similar designs will create issues for players to locate their position on the map. Int the end, they created Verdansk, which had a lot of influences from Eastern European cities.

The origins of the iconic Gulag

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Kelly wanted to make sure that players got incentives for playing aggressively on Warzone. This included giving them an opportunity to return by allowing them to respawn after dying. He continued by saying that their original plan included a 1v1 battle in a separate location similar to the 2v2 Modern Warfare game mode. They initially chose this location to be King, a multiplayer map in Modern Warfare.

But a designer who worked with Kelly pitched the idea for a Gulag, where players find themselves in a small location containing construction equipment. Along with that, they also gave a prison look to it, allowing other players to watch the battles as they wait for their turn. This feature gave them a massive advantage over other titles from the genre, and it became their X-factor.

The decisions made by the developers for Warzone are definitely satisfactory. But a Kabul-inspired map, or a different respawn system, could have definitely made the game a lot different.

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Rupesh Nair

370 articles

Rupesh is an eSports author at EssentiallySports. Currently a student at Mumbai University, he has been involved with eSports since his childhood. Having played titles like Fallout 4, Minecraft, FIFA, Portal 2 and Halo 4 extensively, Rupesh has a deep understanding of the sport.

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