Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022)'s New Open-World Spec Ops Replacement DMZ Mode Explained

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022) is coming later this year, and Warzone 2 is in the works as well, so there's a lot in store for Call of Duty fans. But Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022) isn't just going to have a campaign and a multiplayer component, and Warzone is its whole own separate beast. though it was introduced in Modern Warfare (2019). Spec Ops is not expected to return in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022), and for the game's major third mode there's rumored to be an ambitious new open-world mode called DMZ.

In this article, we'll explain Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022)'s new open-world Spec Ops replacement DMZ mode.

No More Spec Ops in Modern Warfare II

No More Spec Ops in Modern Warfare II
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Credit: Activision

Spec Ops has become something of a hallmark of the Modern Warfare franchise, but the mode enjoyed most of its success in the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

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After Zombies was introduced by Treyarch in Call of Duty: World at War as a fun, silly side cooperative mode, Infinity Ward set out to create something similar that fit the universe of their modern game.

Spec Ops was born as a series of relatively simple cooperative Call of Duty missions that awarded players up to three stars on completion of a Spec Ops mission depending on your selected difficulty level. They were fast-paced, action-packed adventures that felt like a version of Modern Warfare 2's campaign you could play with friends.

By Modern Warfare (2019), Spec Ops became co-op Verdansk filled with bots where you completed open-world "missions" spread across the familiar Warzone map. A.I. wasn't good, the open-world missions weren't very involved, and really, if you wanted to play in Verdansk you were better off playing Warzone.

Accordingly, Spec Ops was overwhelmingly written off as a part of Modern Warfare (2019(, with very few players bothering to spend much time with the mode. Since Infinity Ward has never really been able to evolve the mode into something deeper and more full-featured like Treyarch was with Nazi Zombies, it's not much of a surprise Modern Warfare II (2022) is expected to do away with Spec Ops.

However, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Vanguard both shipped with Nazi Zombies co-op modes that gamers have begun to expect from a Call of Duty game where they can cooperatively relax, fight A.I. enemies, level up guns, and grind camos.

So, Modern Warfare II (2022) needs a third mode, and accordingly, there have been rumors for a while an 'open-world mode' coming in Modern Warfare II (2022), which more and more leaks and rumors suggest will be this open-world DMZ mode.

What is DMZ in Modern Warfare II (2022)?

No More Spec Ops in Modern Warfare II 3
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Credit: Activision

Nothing's been officially confirmed as of yet, but Modern Warfare II (2022)'s third mode is likely to be the open-world DMZ, which has reportedly been in development for years, longer than a Call of Duty side mode traditionally gets.

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However, DMZ isn't expected to be a co-op experience, exactly, with more of a multiplayer bent with a large map (maybe the same map of Warzone 2) where a bunch of human players all play together in.

DMZ is supposed to follow an elaborate storyline, continuing the game's campaign, spread across a ton of open-world quests and events. Somewhat similar to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War's Fireteam mode that pitted squads against each other on large maps to complete various objectives.

In the same way Fireteam was kind of an evolution of battle royale, DMZ aims to do something similar but instead build that out into its whole own mode. Likely, weapons will be able to be leveled in DMZ, and it's also likely we can expect DMZ camos to unlock, too.

Modern Warfare II (2022) is set to be supported for two years as a mainline Call of Duty title won't be released in 2023, and instead, a new free-to-play Call of Duty game will come out in 2023. So, it's likely we can expect lots of new missions, events, and updates to come to the game's DMZ mode like we saw for Zombies in Black Ops Cold War and Vanguard.

Plus, if Call of Duty's new free-to-play offering in 2023 is to be something of a Call of Duty online reboot, a free-to-play 6v6 Call of Duty version of Warzone, this DMZ mode won't compete with such a game. It'll offer a Plunder-style experience from Warzone you can play with friends to casually level up weapons and unlock guns in an open-world.

And, it'll be a good way to leverage Warzone 2's map as well as assets from Modern Warfare II (2022)'s campaign, which will help free up development time to build engaging, unique content for the mode. Leaks suggest the mode itself is extremely ambitious for a Call of Duty side mode, and if Modern Warfare II (2022) is to be supported for two years, DMZ might become the biggest side component of a Call of Duty game since Warzone.

Naturally, Infinity Ward might not succeed with new mode in the same way they didn't manage to make Spec Ops work in Modern Warfare (2019), but what we know so far is exciting. Make sure to stay tuned for the latest Modern Warfare II (2022) news to learn more about the game's DMZ mode as it's formally announced.