‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ Combines Best Parts of ‘Black Ops,’ ‘Modern Warfare’

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” won’t be the only game in the military shooter franchise releasing later this year. Activision, in collaboration with Tencent’s Timi studio, is also working on “Call of Duty: Mobile,” a free-to-play multiplayer game that’s coming to iOS and Android.

At this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, Activision showed off a new demo of “Call of Duty: Mobile.” Though my time with the game was brief, it felt a lot like a bite-sized version of the frantic experience found on consoles and PC. Combat was still quick and — due to my slow reaction times — very painful. As you level up your character, you can unlock new weapons, scorestreaks, and gun attachments for your loadout.

According to Activision VP of mobile Chris Plummer, that was the goal: to create a mobile “Call of Duty” that still felt familiar and authentic to longtime fans.

“If you’ve played ‘Call of Duty’ in the past, our signature multiplayer modes are featured prominently in the game. Whether it’s Domination or [Team Deathmatch], all the classics are there,” Plummer said in the meeting. “We think this is pretty fresh in the landscape right now. The mobile shooters out there have certain modes they’re focused on, and we’re trying to provide even more than that.”

To accomplish this feat, the development team decided to make “Call of Duty: Mobile” kind of like a greatest hits version of the series. That’s why you’ll find fan-favorite maps — like Killhouse and Nuketown — from the “Black Ops” and “Modern Warfare” games. Tencent rebuilt these maps from the ground-up for “Call of Duty: Mobile,” working with Activision to make sure that they matched their triple-A counterparts.

One of our deathmatch battles happened on Hijacked, a map that takes place on a giant yacht at sea. I was impressed with how closely it resembled the original Hijacked from “Black Ops II” — nothing looked out of place. So if you’re already familiar with these older maps and their layouts, you’ll have a big advantage over people who are just playing on them for the first time.

Where “Call of Duty: Mobile” differs from other franchise entries is in its 100-player last-man-standing Battle Royale mode. Battle Royale has a completely different map from what Treyarch made for “Black Ops IV’s” Blackout mode. It stitches together other familiar locations in one huge land mass, including Crash, Overgrown, and Firing Range.

Unlike Blackout, you also have the option of playing either in first-person or third-person (you’ll only be matched with players who choose the same point of view). The Battle Royale mode appears to be Activision’s answer to the mobile versions of Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which both bring in a lot of money.

The company wasn’t ready to discuss how microtransactions will work in “Call of Duty: Mobile” yet, but it said they’d be similar to other free-to-play shooters on phones and tablets.

“We studied a lot on what’s been working and what hasn’t in the [mobile] space. In the last few years, there’s been a kind of cultural phenomenon that started to train people up on some of the basics of how a mobile shooter works,” Plummer said. “And we’re just trying to improve on that, things like firing modes, movement speed, [and] weapon-feel. I think a big part of ‘Call of Duty’ is the weapon feel, and we’ve spent a lot of time on that.”

More Gaming

  • Joyride

    With Joyride, Everyone Can Host Their Own HQ Trivia

    When mobile game developer Kiwi first released Joyride, the app looked familiar: Similar to wildly popular HQ Trivia, Joyride offered players the ability to win quiz shows in live broadcasts. The key difference: Joyride’s app wasn’t home to just one trivia show, but multiple shows around topics like music, dating, fandom, and yes, trivia, all [...]

  • Etika-Desmond-Amofah

    Gaming YouTuber Desmond 'Etika' Amofah Found Dead, NYPD Says

    Desmond Amofah, a YouTube gaming vlogger known online as “Etika,” was found dead by New York police on Tuesday after he was reported missing last week. He was 29. Amofah posted YouTube videos and live-streams focused on Nintendo games and other titles. A body later confirmed to be Amofah’s was found in the East River on [...]

  • harry potter wizards unite

    'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite' Off to Slower Start Than 'Pokemon Go'

    Niantic’s new location-based augmented reality game “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is off to a solid start — but it doesn’t seem to have quite the same momentum as “Pokemon Go” did when it launched 3 years ago. That’s according to initial estimates from app analytics specialist Sensor Tower. “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” first became available [...]

  • survios at the linq

    Not Just Gambling: Las Vegas Is Becoming a Virtual Reality Hub

    Walk into the Linq on the Las Vegas strip these days, and you might not immediately realize you just stepped into a casino. Instead, you’ll stumble across a series of living-room-like lounge setups, complete with leather couches, big-screen TVs, Xbox Ones and Oculus Go VR headsets. There’s also a bar with a massive wrap-around touch [...]

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Netflix Engineers Developed a Rumble Pack Feature During Latest Hack Day

    A duo of Netflix employees had a unique idea for making the service’s shows even more stirring: They added a rumble pack option to the Netflix app as part of the company’s latest hack day. When watching shows like “Voltron,” the feature makes phones vibrate in sync with the action on the screen, similar to [...]

  • Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Game

    ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ to Launch This Week

    “Pokemon Go” maker Niantic is getting ready to launch its next big game: “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is set to launch in June 21, the company revealed in a tweet this week. The worldwide launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite begins this Friday, June 21! Keep your eyes peeled and wand ready for more information [...]

  • Sarah Iooss - Twitch

    Twitch Hires Sarah Iooss, Former Mic and Viacom Exec, as Head of North America Sales

    Twitch has tapped Sarah Iooss, most recently EVP of revenue at millennial-news startup Mic, to lead the advertising sales team in North America for the Amazon-owned live-streaming video platform focused on video gaming. Iooss will be based in New York, reporting to chief revenue officer Walker Jacobs, who joined Twitch last fall after serving as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content