‘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.”

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • Insomniac Games - Spider-Man

    Sony Is Acquiring Insomniac Games, Studio Behind 'Spider-Man' for PS4

    Sony Interactive Entertainment clinched a deal to acquire longtime PlayStation games developer Insomniac Games in its entirety, the company announced Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed “due to contractual commitments,” according to Sony. Insomniac Games is the developer of PlayStation 4’s top-selling “Marvel’s Spider-Man” and other PS games, including the “Ratchet & [...]

  • westworld awakening art

    HBO Launches 'Westworld Awakening' VR Game With Survios

    Ever wanted to enter the world of “Westworld?” Now you can — except it won’t exactly be like you might have imagined it. Instead of being one of those guests living out their fantasies, you will be a host, slowly coming to grips with your life being an elaborate illusion. “Westworld Awakening” has been produced [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Oculus Co-Founder Nate Mitchell Is Leaving Facebook

    Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell is leaving Facebook 7 years after launching the first Oculus Rift headset with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Mitchell announced the move on Reddit Tuesday, calling it “bittersweet news.” Mitchell said that he would take some time off to spend with his family. And while he committed to still being involved in [...]

  • nomadic seoul

    Nomadic Expands Abroad, Opens VR Center in Seoul

    Location-based virtual reality (VR) startup Nomadic is getting ready for an international expansion: The company will open its first VR center outside of the States in South Korea later this month. The new location, housed in the CGV Gangbyeon multiplex in Seoul, is being opened in partnership with theater chain CGV and technology provider CJ [...]

  • Singularity 6 - Anthony Leung and

    ‘Meaningful’ Games Start-Up Singularity 6 Raises $16.5 Million Round Led by Andreessen Horowitz

    Singularity 6, the start-up founded by ex-Riot Games developers that’s aiming to create a community-oriented game where players “can feel like they are valued and belong,” closed $16.5 million in Series A financing. The funding round was led by venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from seed investor London Venture Partners (LVP), which previously put [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content