Earlier this week, Activision released Warzone for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Warzone is a free-to-play Call of Duty battle royale, similar in structure to popular games of the genre. The gimmick of Warzone is that it’s staggeringly massive—and that it’s a stealth game, apparently, with many players complaining that the game’s footsteps are too quiet.
Each round of Warzone drops up to 150 players, broken into 50 three-player teams, into the huge map of Verdansk—a fictional war-torn city with 20-story highrises, an international airport, and a sports stadium. In the first 24 hours, more than six million people started playing. Scroll through social media and you’ll find a lot of praise. But there’s one glaring issue: The footsteps are practically inaudible.
“Footsteps do not seem to register very well,” one player wrote in a popular Reddit thread. “Footsteps are the worst,” replied another. “You can’t fucking hear ‘em.” Scroll through the rest of the thread and you’ll read similar grievances.
When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare came out late last year, one of the chief complaints was about footstep volume—specifically, that it was too damn loud. Seeing as Warzone is an add-on to 2019’s Modern Warfare, there’s a bit of a Goldilocks nature to all of this. It might seem minor, but the issues are valid: If you can’t hear footfall in a tense shooter, your rivals can get the drop on you.
The good news is that there’s a way to amp up the volume of footsteps, at least marginally. Under the audio settings, you’ll find seven different options. On Studio Reference (the standard setting) and Dynamic Home Theater, the footstep audio track sounds like John Cage’s “4’33.” Home Theater is a bit better, but you really have to strain to hear any footfalls, especially under the duress of heavy fire.
The mode you want is Boost. It features a moderate dynamic range and neutral equalization, meaning neither the treble nor the bass is overpowering. Plane engines still roar and proximity sounds for gunfire still need fixing. (A faraway gunfight still registers like it’s right next to you.) But, for the most part, Boost gives sound effects like footsteps some much-needed balance.
For reference, I don’t have a fancy surround-sound setup (thanks a lot, shoebox Brooklyn apartment) and I always play audio directly out of my TV speakers. If you’re rocking a different setup, your sound experience could be totally different. You can test all of these settings out in-game and switch them on the fly from the menu. As you’re selecting an audio setting, you can push in the right thumbstick to see more details about each setting. From there, you can hit the Square button (on PS4) to hear a sampling.
The developers haven’t addressed player complaints yet, so currently using the Boost setting is as good as you can get. Of course, the best way to increase footstep volume in Call of Duty is to close the game and boot up Battlef– [ducks and runs].