Inside Al Mazrah, the new map for ‘Warzone 2.0’

When the development team at Infinity Ward rolled out the massive playing area of Verdansk for “Call of Duty: Warzone,” they viewed it as a starting point. After what game director at Infinity Ward Jack O’Hara describes as a short break, they turned their attention to building their next map — Al Mazrah, the sprawling environment that is Call of Duty’s biggest battle royale map to date, and serves as the battleground for “Warzone 2.0,” which releases Nov. 16.

“We started on this map straight after Verdansk,” O’Hara said. “We kind of rolled from that one to a little bit of a breather and then we started laying the foundations for the next map, which is Al Mazrah. It’s a chance to refine what we did last time and a chance to build on all the lessons.

In the months and years that followed “Warzone’s” March 2020 debut, O’Hara and the teams at Infinity Ward and fellow Call of Duty developer Raven Software watched as players engaged in and around the fictional city of Verdansk, traversing from one end to the other, pushed by a lethal cloud of gas that simultaneously constricted the playing area and forced remaining players closer together.

Now those years of observation have manifested in Infinity Ward’s latest creation. O’Hara said Al Mazrah is a marriage of two elements. The first is the developers’ creativity as they stitched together 18 points of interest into a massive playscape, aiming to delight players with unique and unexpected environments. The second element is the information they’ve gathered, both on how players approach a battle royale map and how to deploy the mapmaking tools at their disposal.

“When we were first doing Verdansk, we were dealing with fresh technology and a fresh set of tools to make it,” O’Hara said. “And so there’s definitely things where we made Verdansk where we’re like, okay, we wish we could change that, but it all turned out okay.”

Al Mazrah will serve as the home for “Warzone 2.0’s” battle royale mode as well as the new open-world DMZ mode, in which players will attempt to complete mission objectives and successfully extract while battling opposing players and AI soldiers. As such, the city and its surrounding areas will tell a story while also serving as a kind of sandbox for players.

In a conversation with The Washington Post, O’Hara and Raven Software Associate Creative Director J.J. Williams detailed what players can expect from certain points of interest around the map, as well as Al Mazrah as a whole.