It’s official: Warzone Caldera, formerly known as the original Call of Duty: Warzone, is shutting down later this year so developers can focus on the battle royale’s sequel and players are angry. The announcement came in a Call of Duty blog post titled “An update on Call of Duty: Warzone Caldera” published on June 22.
“As of September 21, 2023, Call of Duty: Warzone Caldera will shut down, as our teams focus on future Call of Duty content including the current Warzone free-to-play experience,” the blog post reads. Warzone 2.0 launched in November 2022 as a completely separate experience from the original Warzone, which was tied to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and could only be played within that mainline game and launched back in March 2020.
For fans of the original battle royale reluctant to move over to Warzone 2.0 (which was tied to Modern Warfare II and offered a brand-new map, new modes, new gameplay, and major UI changes, though it had its own separate launcher), Activision offered them Caldera, where the original Warzone experience and all its cosmetics would remain. Until now.
Conspiracy theories were swirling back in March of this year that suggested cheaters were being paid to keep people from playing Warzone 1 after streamers and other esports pros refused to make the swap over to the 2.0. And though the claims were unsubstantiated, there was a noticeable delay in players warming to the sequel. Now, however, after many changes and updates, Warzone 2.0 has a healthy player base—though there are still those who play and prefer the original.
But the announcement that Warzone Caldera will officially die this fall was met with some rather passionate responses from fans, as the responses to the tweet from the official Call of Duty account show. Several people pointed out that Blackout, a battle royale mode introduced in 2018's Black Ops 4 and beloved by many, still has operating servers, but the original Warzone will not. Others pointed to all the cosmetics they purchased, while others were angry that the blog posts mentions work on Warzone: Mobile.
I myself haven’t gotten into Warzone 2.0 at all despite being a pretty die-hard original Warzone fan—and I haven’t really been playing Caldera either, as I miss the first battle royale map Verdansk too much. But considering I spent an ungodly amount of time and money getting some really sick skins for my Operators, I am very annoyed that all of them will go bye-bye. I had an ‘80s workout skin, a ‘90s grunge skin, a Ripley from Aliens-inspired skin, and even some footy uniforms.
Though I won’t be able to play with those skins in a battle royale ever again, the Call of Duty blog does note that “regarding purchased content in Warzone Caldera–from Modern Warfare, Black Ops Cold War, or Vanguard–that will continue to be accessible in those specific games.”
I suppose this was always bound to happen, and maybe this is a sign that I should give Warzone 2.0 a proper chance. But it’s an important reminder that live service games can appear, rise to prominence, and fade out in the blink of an eye.