We know it sometimes feels like Call of Duty was hopping on the extraction shooter trend somewhat last-minute with its’ Warzone 2 DMZ mode, like how it felt with Battlefield 2042’s Hazard Zone, but that really isn’t the case at all. Warzone 2 DMZ is largely getting the extraction shooter formula right at the moment and that, it seems, is due to years of development. In fact, Infinity Ward was already testing a working build of DMZ – which we now see in Warzone 2, which is one of the best battle royale games – before the studio started developing Verdansk – the battle royale’s original map.
Speaking exclusively with media outlet Dexerto, multiplayer design director Geoff Smith revealed that Infinity Ward “actually had working protoypes [of DMZ] before [it] started making Verdansk”. He also added that the studio “felt those trends that early, but [it] didn’t have the bandwidth to execute on it at that time”.
While Smith didn’t share any specifics – or, at least, specifics weren’t reported on – you do have to wonder why it took quite so long for a DMZ mode to release. If we were to speculate, we would have to imagine that it would take quite some time – and quite a lot of rigorous testing – to ensure the mode itself was balanced. We know Call of Duty developers, including Infinity Ward, have been dealing with PvE content for years – primarily in the form of single-player campaign missions – but DMZ is clearly a different beast entirely.
However, tackling that beast is exactly what “good game development” is all about, according to Smith and co-design director Joseph Cecot.
“In general, good game development is to try crazy, scary stuff,” Smith added.
“Just trying different things, sometimes they’re first-person, sometimes they’re third person, sometimes they’re one life, sometimes they’re respawn, sometimes they’re console or PC… It’s just like anyone who writes books – they’ve read a lot of books. Anyone who makes TV, they watch a lot of TV,” Cecot continues. “So, you king of want to know what you’re getting yourself into and how you can stand out.”
Despite the fact that a game like Arc Raiders is hopping on the extraction shooter trend now, it does feel like Warzone 2 DMZ is something of a stand-out title in the genre. Escape From Tarkov might be king, but it’s not available on consoles and – from what we can tell – quite a bit more punishing than DMZ.
Is this going to be remembered as one of the best games of all time, though? Well, we’re not quite sure about that. However, this foresight does show that Infinity Ward is always striving to give players what they want, when they want it. If you’re jumping into this mode anytime soon, you can read up on everything you need to know about the Warzone 2 DMZ Koschei Complex here and the best Warzone 2 guns right here.