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Call of Duty 2020: Everything we know from release date, setting, gameplay and more

call of duty 2020
(Image credit: Treyarch)

Call of Duty 2020 may still be a way off, but we know it's definitely coming — did anyone really think otherwise? This year, Treyarch is in charge of development, but what does that mean for the franchise? Everything we know about Call of Duty 2020 is right here including leaks for the singleplayer, multiplayer, setting, Zombies, and more.

Call of Duty 2020 release date - When will we get the next game?

Call of Duty 2020 release date

(Image credit: Activision)

If the last couple of years are anything to go by the Call of Duty 2020 release date will be mid-October this year, after Black Ops 4 and Modern Warfare moved the usual November release date to be a few weeks earlier.

As for when we're likely to hear official news about Call of Duty 2020, it could come any time in the next few months. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is about six months old at this point and if it were to be in line with previous Call of Duty release schedules, we're expecting a proper reveal around May.

Call of Duty 2020 setting, leaks, and rumours

(Image credit: Activision)

UPDATE March 19: According to a leak from TheGamingRevolution, Call of Duty 2020 will in fact be a reboot of the Black Ops series, much like Modern Warfare last year. Both Alex Mason and Frank Woods are set to return — albeit with new voice actors — and as we originally reported based on the leaks below, it will be just as serious. Supposedly there's a notable interrogation scene because those haven't been overdone yet.

TheGamingRevolution also let slip some details about the engine; apparently it will use the same one found in Modern Warfare, including the 32v32 Ground War mode that debuted in MW. Also in multiplayer are some killstreaks alleged to make an appearance including the classic UAV, Counter UAV, dogs, a flamethrower, and a bomber that can eliminate enemy killstreaks in the sky.

Just like with Modern Warfare, all multiplayer DLC will supposedly be free, although there may be a paid season pass for the returning Zombies mode. This will feature a plot more realistic than what we've seen in the past with Zombies, despite them being, you know... zombies.

Finally, in news related to a further Call of Duty, Sledgehammer Games is reportedly working on a free-to-play title in the series for release in 2021. This won't be a mainline entry as the reigns will go back to Infinity Ward, but is meant to have open world and battle royale elements.

Original leak below.

ORIGINAL: Over two months before Modern Warfare came out, a rumour started circulating that Call of Duty 2020 would be Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 from Treyarch. That's not too far-fetched since the last four games from the studio have been  Black Ops games.

Allegedly, it will be set during the Cold War, including both Vietnam and Korea. A Korean War setting would be treading new ground for for Call of Duty both in terms of location and time - it took place in the 1950s, involving an invasion of South Korea by their northern counterparts, before international help arrived to assist and push back the invading forces. Apparently this campaign will be even more "gritty and gruesome" than Modern Warfare, but that would be seriously impressive if they manage to pull that off, not to mention controversial.

David Vonderhaar – game design director at Treyarch – tweeted in early January saying that there would be no jetpacks in Call of Duty 2020 after the community backlash in Black Ops 3. He then replied to another outlet's tweets implying he didn't confirm that at all. It certainly reads to us like he did, but time will tell and if the rumour about it being set during the Cold War is accurate, jetpacks would feel slightly out of place to say the least.

Will Call of Duty 2020 single-player exist?

call of duty 2020 single player

(Image credit: Activision)

As someone who has been playing and enjoying every Call of Duty campaign on veteran difficulty since Call of Duty 4, it was disappointing that Black Ops 4 didn't have a traditional single-player mode or narrative. After the success of Modern Warfare's campaign last year, it'll undoubtedly come as a shock if there is no Call of Duty 2020 campaign.

Where could they go with it? If the above rumours regarding the Vietnam and Korean wars are to be believed then those alternate reality options are essentially endless since they've not been touched upon much before in the franchise. The last Treyarch campaign – Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – was set in 2065 during a third Cold War and ended with the player character essentially dying, so outside of some funky futuristic shenanigans, it's unlikely that narrative will be continued chronologically.

Will Call of Duty 2020 Zombies mode return?

(Image credit: Activision)

Will Call of Duty 2020 Zombies mode be a thing? It's developed by Treyarch and they haven't released a Call of Duty title since Call of Duty 3 that didn't have Zombies mode, so it's a fairly safe assumption. Jason Blundell has been the Zombies gameplay director for the last few instalments and he's still working at Treyarch, so the odds look good. The leak reported on above also mentions Zombies mode, so it's a safe bet to assume it will be back.

What's happening with Call of Duty League 2020?

CWL London 100Thieves win

(Image credit: Joe Brady)

Will Call of Duty 2020 have a ranked mode or league play? We're really not sure, but it's likely since Treyarch has been the most reliable developer in the series for league play in the past. That said ranked play in Call of Duty has been a touchy subject for some time, it's been included in most games but Modern Warfare still doesn't have it almost six months on from launch. In an era where esports means big money, Activision's apparent reluctance to support it in-game is baffling.

Call of Duty 2020 wishlist

Now for a few things we want to see included or amended in Call of Duty 2020, that could seriously make the game one of the best Call of Duty titles we've had in years.

1. Remove UAV and Counter-UAV

(Image credit: Activision)

There hasn't been a multiplay Call of Duty title without a UAV kill streak since 2007, but it's about time it was removed. This might be a controversial take but hear me out; UAV is simply a crutch for bad players. Much like death streaks were when they were added in Modern Warfare 2 then removed not long after, knowing the location of your enemies means you pay so much more attention to the minimap rather than learning how to play the game.

UAVs encourage corner camping, pre-aiming, and overall contribute to a less enjoyable experience in most, if not all Call of Duty games. There's a case to be had that most killstreaks detract from the skill level of Call of Duty, and barebones playlists should be a permanent feature, but let's start with UAVs (and Counter UAVs) because they're completely unnecessary. Especially when they're so easy to get.

2. Go back to the drawing board with maps

(Image credit: Activision)

It's no secret that the multiplayer maps in Modern Warfare are some of the worst we've had in a long time. Seriously, have you seen Piccadilly and Azhir Cave? The absence of three lane maps is painfully obvious so Treyarch, please. I beg you: return to maps that follow the three lane philosophy.

Cast your mind back to fan favourite maps like Crossfire, Highrise, Launch, Radiation, Havana... all of these maps adhered to the three lane template – as did most maps in those games – but recently, the idea has been thrown out of the window. Go back to this style and I'm willing to bet some of the Call of Duty 2020 maps could be the best we've had in years.

3. Keep the Gunsmith system

(Image credit: Future)

Introduced with Modern Warfare, the amount of options and customisability in the Gunsmith system is eons better than anything we've seen in the franchise before. Every weapon has so many attachments and possible configurations. You can truly experiment and it's unlikely you'll find anyone rocking the exact same loadout as you, which is something that has been fairly common in previous COD games.

So Treyarch, please learn from this and implement something similar into your next game. Of course, the setting for the title will have some limitations – if it was a WW2 game for example, it's unlikely you'll be able to attach a holographic sight to a Thompson – but there's certainly room to keep this excellent feature in some fashion.

4. Increase the time-to-kill

(Image credit: Activision)

Modern Warfare has one of the lowest TTK rates in recent Call of Duty history and while some people are fond of that – especially those that play hardcore – I must admit I prefer shooters with a slightly higher TTK. Call of Duty games like the original Modern Warfare and Black Ops 2 are two of the most renowned titles and there's no coincidence that part of that is thanks to the fact you don't die in just one or two bullets.

Increasing the TTK also helps to prevent corner camping, since shooting someone in the back isn't a guaranteed kill every time. It rewards a higher skill ceiling, since being shot in the back means there's a chance you can turn around quickly and out-shoot them. Some of my fondest moments and memories in old Call of Duty games include times when I've earned a kill or two while on just a sliver of health, all thanks to the TTK being higher.

That concludes our Call of Duty 2020 wishlist and everything we know about the game so far! Check back here regularly to see if any more information has been announced and until then, enjoy the absence of ranked play... please Activision.

One of the resident guide writers around these parts, give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. The youngest member of the GamesRadar team, I have an unhealthy addiction to Football Manager, shouting at the TV as Manchester United slowly descend from greatness, and playing Pokemon Go on the bus to and from the office.