Soldiers huddled close together in DMZ
Image via Activision

DMZ was the best thing Call of Duty did since Warzone and Activision killed it

DMZ was released alongside Modern Warfare 2 in 2022 as a new game mode that offered an alternative pass time for those who wanted to take a break from Warzone or multiplayer. Sadly, after just one year Activision pulled the plug on DMZ and now we will never know if it had the legs to stand on.

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DMZ was Call of Duty's answer to Escape From Tarkov and other extraction shooter games. It dropped players into the Warzone's Al Mazrah but dialed the player count down to 22 squads of three — it was exceedingly rare to encounter that number of human interactions, however. While inside the DMZ you had free choice to tackle missions, search for exclusive unlocks, level up weapons, or bring the fight to other players.

What made DMZ special was the unknown and the constant voice in the back of your head warning you that enemy players could be around the next corner. That constant tension would eventually snap as you'd see a player sprint across the road and you'd immediately know: a fight was about to start. Up to this point DMZ was a breeze with laidback gameplay and a bunch of PvE, but the moment you noticed other players the gloves were off and it became a game of cat and mouse.

It was rare for people to approach gunfights in the same way they did in Warzone and that may be due to everyone taking the mode with less vigor, but it honestly made the fighting more intense. Rarely did players jump, slide, and bounce off every wall, resulting in a calmer experience where strategy between two squads came into play. More often than not I would see my teammate sneak around the edge of a fight to get a flank off while the last member of my squad and I laid down some fire to distract our opponents. Since you only had one life in DMZ it made every decision you made far more important than in Warzone; the latter had the Gulag, buy stations, and reinforcement flares to give you extra chances. If your squad wiped in DMZ then it was game over.

Sniper shootout in DMZ MW2
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

I adored DMZ's promise and what it could eventually be with some good ideas, good execution, and a sprinkle of time. The game mode's casual approach to the extraction shooter genre was an honestly great idea especially with the Call of Duty brand backing it up, but sadly Activision had their eyes set on greener pastures.

It's hard to say why Activision decided this mode wasn't worth continuing but some educated guesses can be made. First, we aren't sure if DMZ was performing well enough to merit the amount of development it pulled from the main game. Second, Modern Warfare 3 Zombies was on the horizon and as the game moved away from Al Mazrah to Urzikstan Activision had a choice: split up development time between DMZ, MW3Z, Warzone, and Multiplayer or drop one. Since Warzone and Multiplayer are a given they are safe, and MW3 Zombies was the first zombie open-world experience so they couldn't pull that plug either. So all that's left is DMZ: my favorite game mode to come out of Call of Duty since Zombies. All we can do is salute a fallen comrade and hope that the devs revive the project sometime in the future.

Those are my thoughts on the now-discontinued mode. If you're looking for more Call of Duty content check out Top 5 all-time best Call of Duty maps, according to Reddit, Top 10 All-time Call of Duty Zombie Maps, and more on Pro Game Guides.


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Author
Tyler Towers
Tyler is a skilled Freelance Writer for ProGameGuides, specializing in the most popular FPS games like Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and Valorant. He is also keenly interested in MOBAs and JRPGs, no matter how obscure they may be. With his Game Design degree from Sheffield Hallam University, Tyler has the expertise and knowledge to provide in-depth gaming industry coverage. When he is not knee-deep in ELO hell, he devotes his time to taking care of his beloved ragdoll cat, Ace.

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DMZ was the best thing Call of Duty did since Warzone and Activision killed it

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