Call of Duty: Vanguard release date, trailer, news and more

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It's official, Call of Duty: Vanguard is this year's CoD and, according to Activision, will be released sometime towards the end of 2021.

Given the unwavering annual release schedule of Call of Duty titles, this is hardly surprising. But what we were pleasantly surprised by was the series' return to a World War 2 setting. And with Sledgehammer Games (developer of Call of Duty: WW2) at the helm, we're somewhat confident of the game's quality.

The first trailer for Call of Duty: Vanguard dropped on August 16, 2021. Meanwhile, the full reveal is due to take place on August 19 at 10:30am PDT / 1:30pm EDT / 6:30pm BST / 7:30pm CEST and August 20 at 3:30am AEST inside the Call of Duty: Warzone battle royale game.

Read our guide below to find out everything we know so far about Call of Duty: Vanguard.

Call of Duty: Vanguard: here's what you need to know

  • What is it? The next mainline Call of Duty game, set during WW2
  • When can I play it? The fourth quarter of 2021 (October - December)
  • What can I play it on? PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and Xbox One

Call of Duty: Vanguard trailer

The first trailer for the game was made available on August 16, 2021 and shows scenes from the second World War. From downed airplanes in the Pacific to war torn European cities, the trailer sets the tone for the upcoming game. 

Most importantly, though, it shows us when we'll hear more about Vanguard: August 19, 2021 during an in-game Call of Duty: Warzone event.

Check it out for yourself below.

Call of Duty: Vanguard release date

Call of Duty: WW2

(Image credit: Activision)

During Activision Blizzard's Q4 2020 earnings call (via GamesRadar), the publisher confirmed that it has "another strong premium release planned for Q4 in 2021," later clarifying this to be in reference to a "new premium Call of Duty release."

That means we can expect Call of Duty: Vanguard to arrive between October and December 2021. Typically, we see mainline Call of Duty games land in October, so it's possible we'll see the new CoD in that same window. However, given the state of game development schedules amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we may see Call of Duty: Vanguard delayed until November – which is what happened with last year's Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War.

We'll likely learn the official release date on August 19, 2021, during which a special Call of Duty: Warzone event known as The Battle of Verdansk will take place. During the event, players will be able to complete objectives to earn various rewards, and be treated to the first showing of Call of Duty: Vanguard's official reveal.

Call of Duty: Vanguard setting

Call of Duty: WW2

(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Vanguard will return to the second World War, which was originally revealed via a report by ModernWarzone (via GamesRadar ), which was later verified by both Eurogamer and VGC

As per these reports, the game was tipped to be called "Call of Duty WW2: Vanguard." Since then, Activision has confirmed the title of Call of Duty: Vanguard and its developer, Sledgehammer Games.

This was all confirmed in the original teaser trailer which showcased a World War 2 setting across numerous theaters of conflict. As such, Vanguard could be the most ambitious Call of Duty to date when it comes to the second World War setting.

Call of Duty: Vanguard news and rumors

Call of Duty: WW2

(Image credit: Activision)

August 19 reveal confirmed
Proving previous rumors to be correct, Activision announced that the full Call of Duty Vanguard reveal will take place on August 19, 2021, within the Call of Duty: Warzone battle royale via an event known as the Battle of Verdansk.

To take part, players must download the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone client through the PlayStation Store on PS4 and PS5, Microsoft Store on Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One, or on PC via the Battle.net launcher.

The in-game event begins at 10:30am PDT / 1:30pm EDT / 6:30pm BST / 7:30pm CEST. Australian players will need to be night owls, however, and tune in on Friday, August 20 at 1:30am AWST / 3:30am AEST.

Various cosmetic rewards are also up for grabs for players who tune into the Battle of Verdansk event. Such rewards include a bike skin and blueprints for a new weapon and knife.

A reveal on August 19?
Twitter user @NEXTGEN_ishere claimed in a (now-deleted tweet) that Call of Duty 2021 will be revealed on August 19 at 10:45am PT / 1:45pm ET / 6:45pm BST (via VGC). 

Notable leaker Tom Henderson has since corroborated this claim in a DualShockers report, claiming that four of his own sources have confirmed that the Call of Duty reveal will take place on August 19. 

What's more, an event listing which recently appeared on the PS Store seemingly confirms August 19 as the date of the game's worldwide release, which is set to take place within Call of Duty: Warzone.

Call of Duty: Vanguard promotional material leaked
As reported by CharlieIntel, images that appear to show the logo and key art for the new Call of Duty: Vanguard have been circulating online. The images, which were allegedly found in the game files for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War following the season 5 update, appear to confirm the previously rumored moniker "Vanguard".

The images appear to show that three editions of Call of Duty: Vanguard will be available: a standard edition, a cross-gen bundle and an ultimate edition. 

In addition, the images show skins for Operators Lucas, Wade and Polina, as well as for weapons including the Breacher assault rifle, Snowstorm rifle and Thunderhead submachine gun.

According to CharlieIntel, Activision is issuing copyright take down notices for the images.

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Warzone integration and reveal?
Call of Duty: Vanguard was notably absent at E3 2021, but according to a recent report from VGC, the game could be revealed via an in-game Warzone event like last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

The same is true of the event listing which recently appeared on the PS Store. It suggests Call of Duty: Vanguard is set to be revealed "in Call of Duty: Warzone" itself.

What's more, VGC’s report suggests a big Warzone integration could be in the pipeline. Developed by Sledgehammer Games, Call of Duty: Vanguard is to be powered by Modern Warfare's 'IW8’ engine, just like Warzone, which should make integration of the games easier. 

According to VGC, Sledgehammer has plenty of content planned for Warzone when it shifts to this supposed WW2 setting, including Warzone’s “largest and most ambitious [map] to date” that’s “planned to coincide with the release of the game rather than arriving months later.” The report says that the map will take players to the Pacific theater of WW2 and adds that there will be new vehicles to help players traverse the larger space. 

These comments align with those made by Activision at its most recent earnings call, which clarify that the developer is working on creating an "even deeper content integration between [the game's] premium and free experiences," teasing a "substantial innovation within Warzone itself."

PS4 and Xbox One release?
Yes, Activision is committed to "launching a seamless experience for both current and next-gen console players."

In light of this, prominent Call of Duty and Battlefield leaker Tom Henderson took to Twitter to share information about Call of Duty: Vanguard, stating that the game will be “held back” by versions of the game on PS4 and Xbox One consoles (via Gamesradar).

It’s as of yet unclear how much these rumored last generation versions of the game might differ from their current-gen counterparts and, according to Henderson, this cross-generation strategy will be in place for both Vanguard and the next Call of Duty developed by Infinity Ward, positing that game's release in 2022 if Call of Duty’s annual schedule is to be upheld. 

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Built with current-gen in mind?
Almost as a direct counter to Henderson's leak, though, Activision president Dan Alegre shared details on Call of Duty: Vanguard during the company's Q1 earnings call, as reported by GamesRadar, saying the new game is "built for next-generation experience." This could imply that Call of Duty: Vanguard is being developed with PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles as the primary focus, even if not exclusively for these systems. 

Still, with Activision's clarification that the game will offer a "seamless experience for both current and next-gen console players," it seems unlikely that the next COD will fully utilize the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

A name change?
ModernWarzone initially reported that Call of Duty WW2: Vanguard was the game's working title, however, according to Eurogamer sources – and the leaks mentioned throughout this guide – Activision plans to stick with this name (less the WW2) for the final version. We had learned that Call of Duty: Slipstream might be the game's official title – but maybe this was simply the working title, after all. 

As mentioned, some eagle-eyed fans have spotted a dubious reference to Vanguard in some new promotional material for Warzone Season 5. Translating the Japanese text allegedly reads "Vanguard is coming," though this is a difficult one to verify. Less complicated is the aforementioned PS Store listing that explicitly references Call of Duty: Vanguard.

Call of Duty: Vanguard: what we want to see

Call of Duty: WW2

(Image credit: Activision)

Utilize the power of PS5 and Xbox Series X

Black Ops: Cold War did it, so we expect Call of Duty: Vanguard to take optimization for next-gen consoles even further. We're hoping that the new COD can be played in 120fps (ideally at 4K) and that it will implement DualSense controller support for extra immersion. While we can take or leave the DualSense support, 120fps for first-person shooters like CoD makes a huge difference, particularly when playing online.

As mentioned above, Activision's clarification that the game will offer a "seamless experience for both current and next-gen console players" means it's unlikely that the next CoD will fully utilize the power of next-gen systems, but we'd expect at least the same level of optimization as Black Ops: Cold War.

Return of Zombies

A fan-favorite, we're hoping we'll get the chance to take out some Nazi zombie hordes once again. But, while we do love the Zombies formula, it would nice to have a bit of shake-up with more of a variety in puzzles and some new maps to explore.

Warzone

With a new CoD comes the opportunity to give Warzone a shake up, too, and we're hoping that the battle royale gets something of a WW2 makeover, tying in with CoD 2021 and adding a freshness to the online game.

Given Activision's aforementioned assertion that the game will bring with it a "substantial innovation" for Warzone, we're hopeful on this front.

Back-to-basics multiplayer

What we loved about Cold War's multiplayer is that it went back-to-basics, with tight, well-made maps and a refined arsenal. Hopefully, Activision will keep this in mind with the new CoD.

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