Wait, What the Heck Is This ‘Call of Duty’ 68 GB Update?

     February 11, 2020

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, released in 2019, is a popular, well-regarded first-person shooters in the long line of Activation-distributed popular, well-regarded first-person shooters making the Call of Duty franchise. Each game provides a sense of familiarity (shoot the bad people with the gun, please!) with a sense of exploration (oh my God, this story mode is making me reckon with the inherent evils of war!). But when the CoD: MW community logged in recently, they were met with a couple of surprises no one could have anticipated. One: The promise of a new game mode, currently called only “Classified.” And two: A 68 GB update.

Now, in our modern age of video games, big ol’ updates coming after the game is initially released is hardly news. Whether to blast you with more characters, fine-tune controls, or squash any pesky bugs, updates and DLC are here to stay. The news here is the absolute heft of this update. 68 gigabytes is a lot of space for a self-contained game, let alone an in-game update. For a comparison point, most Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One consoles, either in their standard or higher-end editions, come with 1TB of storage, making this 68 GB sub-game update about 7% of the console’s space in total. Add that up with every other game on the console, combine it with those games’ potentially hefty updates, and, well, your resource management game skills might need to come in handy IRL.

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Image via Activision

Our question, thus, is simple: Why so big? We’ll let CoD: MW production director Paul Haile handle that one directly:

hey all – as we push season 2 live i just want to apologize about the download size of this update. we’re constantly trying to fight back against both download size and disk footprint and in this case we’re re-sending new asset packs to reduce the overall size of the game. this is what has caused the update today to be so big. after todays download you should see that, even though we’ve added season 2 and the associated content for it, the overall size of the game should shrink a little on your local hard drive. in addition to this update keeping the disk footprint from increasing, we’re also taking this opportunity to set up the data up for better overall management to try and keep future updates from being this large, even during a season rollout. additionally, in a future update we’re going to also be adding a DLC pack management screen for console users, to allow you to pick and choose which DLC packs you want keep, and remove the others to recover more space as well. i’m very conscious of the overall size of MW and we’re doing what we can to minimize this for everyone. thanks!

So while the 68 GB update might be a bit difficult to swallow at the moment, it looks like it will ultimately make the game’s size itself lower — and future updates will be managed better. That’s good news… but it’s absolutely not going to stop me from sharing this meme, which made me cackle out loud at my desk and caused my colleague to go, “What?” and then I explained it and he didn’t find it as funny and I felt weird.

What goodies are we getting in this 68 GB update? Courtesy of Windows Central (oh yeah, you can play this on PC, too!), here’s the full scoop:

  • Multiplayer map: In Rust, a beloved multiplayer map returns from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, as players drop into intense, fast-paced combat amid an oil yard in the middle of the desert.

  • Ground War map: In Zhokov Boneyard, an expansive airplane junkyard in Verdansk, bulldoze through buildings with a tank, find the ideal sniping position, or go rogue with a run-and-gun mentality.

  • Gunfight Maps: The Modern Warfare Classic, Rust will also make its appearance as a Gunfight map, delivering a new setting for intense, close-quarters matches. You’ll be happy to know that Bazaar is coming later this season.

  • Trials: Four new trials will be included in Season 2 for players to put their skills to the test and earn up to a three-star ranking and experience.

Plus: You’re gonna be able to play as Ghost, the fan-favorite character from 2009’s game-changer, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2! I gotta say — my favorite version of “playing Call of Duty” involves self-contained maps and adrenaline shots of nostalgia, and this update sounds like it’ll scratch all those itches, size be damned.

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Image via Activision

So that’s one mystery solved. But what about this new, locked off game mode, simply called “Classified”? Did this season 2 update inadvertently reveal that CoD: MW is about to get its own Battle Royale mode? It would make sense, businesswise: Battle Royales are all the rage in the FPS scene, from Fortnite to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. These types of games differ from your average FPS in their sheer number of players per round, the hugeness of the maps, and the atypical focus on resource scavenging and crafting. But CoD‘s fanbase might not be into this trendy mode of multiplayer FPS. And gamers in general are pushing back against the subgenre’s tendencies to reward those who pay microtransactions for game-winning goods, and crush those who don’t with paralyzing grinding. If this is indeed the move Activision wishes to make, they better tread carefully and make the best damn Battle Royale anyone has ever made… and it better be a reasonable file size.

For more on the franchise, check out just how successful this game is. And if you’re tryna play something else, here’s the 2020 games we’re most looking forward to.

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