We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

MW3 Season 1 release date, maps, and latest news

The MW3 Season 1 release date kicks off CoD 2023's seasonal content with a bang when it arrives on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, bringing new maps, guns, and more.

Call of Duty MW3 season 1 release date: a soldier with a rifle

When is the MW3 Season 1 release date? Modern Warfare 3’s pre-season is in full swing, though things only true kick off once the Seasonal updates take off, promising plenty of new content with each update. So, here’s all the latest news on MW3 Season 1, such as new maps, guns, and more, including the exact MW3 Season 1 release date.

Before the MW3 Season 1 release date rolls around though, be sure to get clued in on the MW3 meta. With patch notes already changing things up, keeping up with the best MW3 loadouts and MW3 best guns will ensure you’re keeping up with the competition in Season 1. If you’ve held off on purchasing the game until Season 1, check out our MW3 review to see what the groundwork is like for Seasons to build on.

MW3 Season 1 release date

The MW3 Season 1 release date is Wednesday, December 6, 2023, as confirmed by developer Sledgehammer Games, and will bring “a ton of content”. This aligns with the release cadence for the Modern Warfare 2 Season 1 launch, which also arrived a few weeks after that game’s release in 2022.

As with the debut season of its predecessor, MW3 Season 1 is set to introduce a slew of new goodies for players to get their mitts on, including maps, weapons, vehicles, Operators, and no doubt more MW3 Aftermarket Parts – more on this later.

Additionally, it’s predecessor got off to a bang by also adding new game modes, including Tier 1, Cyber Attack, Control, and Bounty, further expanding the multiplayer experience. Needless to say, Sledgehammer Games has a lot to live up to in the inaugural MW3 season, and we’re sure it won’t be without issues. Keep an eye on the MW3 server status as it’s a big occasion.

It’s worth nothing that anyone who purchased the special MW3 Vault Edition will get the Season 1 Battle Pass free of charge. There was confusion at launch as MW2 Season 6 continued and carried over into MW3, and many players were wondering where there freebie was.

YouTube Thumbnail

MW3 Season 1 roadmap

The MW3 Season 1 roadmap so far includes:

  • Three 6v6 maps
  • At least one 2v2 map
  • Gunfight mode
  • Ranked play
  • Zombies Season 1
  • Warzone integration
  • Winter event

MW3 Season 1 maps and modes

MW3 Season 1 adds three new 6v6 maps, two of which are available at the start of the Season and the other in the Season 1 Reloaded update, as well as at least one new 2v2 map. These maps look to provide more close-quarters gameplay, which makes up for many of the surprisingly large launch MW3 maps. Many players have complained that these MW2 remastered maps simply don’t work with the new, faster movement of today’s CoD, so we can only hope that these Season 1 maps hit the mark.

MW3 Season 1 release date: The new Meat map coming in Season 1, showing the outside of the facility at night with a large truck parked outside.

Meat – Season 1 launch, 6v6:

Meat is a brand-new 6v6 multiplayer map for the core modes – the first all-new location for the standard MW3 multiplayer modes since all launch maps were MW2 (2009) remasters.

Taking place in the East Bay Meats slaughterhouse, Meat is a very close quarters map. With a small parking lot on one end, the rest of the map is largely the interior of this compact facility. SMGs, shotguns, and other close-range MW3 guns will be your best friend here.

MW3 Season 1 release date: The Greece map, showing several buildings and a rowboat for a scenic view of this seafront town.

Greece – Season 1 launch, 6v6:

Greece is another all-new map coming with the launch of MW3 Season 1. Set in a medium-sized Mediterranean inspired coastal town, Greece looks to offer up intense close-quarters action and plenty of verticality. With tight streets and accessible roofs and balconies, you’ll have to have your wits about you.

We’re hoping it plays like the iconic MW3 (2011) map Seatown, a similarly dense map with lots of verticality.

MW3 Season 1 release date: The Rio map, showcasing the tight streets and central shopping center.

Rio – Season 1 Reloaded, 6v6:

Rio is the last new map coming to the core 6v6 playlist in Season 1. Like the prior two maps, Rio is primed to provide more close-quarters action through the tight streets and shopping center.

With Season 1 seeing the return of the fan favorite Gunfight mode, MW3 will also be getting a brand-new 2v2 map at the launch of the first Season.

MW3 Season 1 release date: The Training Facility map, an indoor practice range with several walkways and concrete walls.

Training Facility – Season 1 launch, 2v2:

Pitting two teams of two against one another in Gunfight, Training Facility makes for some intense action. There’s lots of flanking routes, open sightlines, as well as opportunities to clamber up to the higher levels.

MW3 Season 1 Ranked

As for MW3 ranked play, multiplayer creative director Greg Reisdorf has revealed that Treyarch will be launching ranked play sometime around mid-season. “They’re going to bring that experience, update it, modernize it from Modern Warfare 2 […] and for Season 1.5 we’ll have it out”, he stated.

According to the dev, delaying ranked play from launch has been done intentionally: “we want enough time where players can get familiar with everything – they can understand what’s happening within the game – and start to build those restrictions within the game.”

While players will be itching to get on the ranked grind, and may be a little disappointed by the lack of a ranked ladder at launch and even the MW3 Season 1 release date, this is nothing new to the series. In fact, if anything, the fact that ranked is coming in Season 1 is a marked improvement over MW2, which didn’t receive a ranked ladder until Season 2 back in February 2023.

MW3 Season 1 release date: The V-R11 Wonder Weapon placed on a table, a new addition in Season 1 Zombies.

MW3 Season 1 Zombies update

The MW3 Season 1 release date also brings with it the first major update to MW3 Zombies, known as MWZ.

Firstly, players are able to get their hands on a new Wonder Weapon, the V-R11. If you’re a long-time Zombies fanatic, then you might recognise this weapon from Call of Duty Black Ops’ Call of the Dead map. This modified version of the V-R11 Wonder Weapon has the ability to transform enemies (both human and zombie) into loyal allies that will fight alongside you.

Next up are the Dark Aether Rifts. Entering these Rifts invite you to complete a “sinister and chaotic challenge” according to Sledgehammer. With limited time on the clock, you’ll have to complete the Dark Aether Rift challenge and escape in one piece. Dark Aether Rifts are intended to be end-game experiences in MWZ that players can master once they’ve completed the new seasonal mission.

Last but by no means least, MW3 Season 1 Zombies also sees the addition of a new category of unique acquisition schematics. According to the blog post, these “will test the player’s skill to unlock”.

Alongside the already challenging selection of MW3 camos to unlock in Zombies, we’re hoping these gear challenges and Dark Aether Rifts will give hardcore Zombies fans more to chase once the MW3 Season 1 release date arrives.

MW3 Season 1 release date: An image split in two vertically, with MW3 promotional art of key characters on the left, and Warzone characters running away on the right side.

Warzone integration

With the MW3 Season 1 release date, the popular Call of Duty Warzone battle royale will also be updated with the suite of new features core to the MW3 experience. This includes the new movement mechanics like slide cancelling, Tac-Stance, and more, as well as updated health.

Most excitingly though, the Warzone meta will see a massive shake-up thanks to the inclusion of all the new MW3 weapons. So, keep an eye on the best Warzone guns and best Warzone loadouts as it’s likely time to say goodbye to your favorite weapons from the past year.

That’s not all though, as the MW3 Season 1 release date also brings a new Warzone map, Urzikstan. If this feels familiar to you, then that’s because the new Warzone Urzikstan map is the same map used for the Zombies mode and is featured in the MW3 campaign too. With ziplines, a drivable train, and more, MW3 Season is set to be a great time for fans of Warzone, not just traditional multiplayer and the innovative new MWZ mode.

MW3 Season 1 Winter event

Another big arrival with MW3 Season 1 is the Winter holiday event. So far, Sledgehammer as only confirmed that the “special snowy event” will begin “at mid-season”, setting the stage for a Winter take over with Season 1 Reloaded.

With that said, you can expect a new festive-themed Operator skin, a weapon blueprint or two, and plenty of other rewards like charms and camos.

That’s all the latest news ahead of the MW3 Season 1 release date which builds upon what is already one of the best FPS games out right now. Additionally, read up on the MW3 Prestige system as you’ll get your first taste of it in Season 1. Otherwise, get cracking on the best MW3 BAS-B loadout and MW3 Striker loadout, two weapons you’ll want at the ready when the Season 1 launch time arrives.