Warzone, Call of Duty's free-to-play Battle Royale, took the world by storm in 2020 when it launched. Throwing players into the huge landmass of Verdansk with just their wits and a pistol, its tense nature but familiar gameplay loop have captivated players across the world.
Included in that number are some of the world's leading athletes, who have begun using Warzone to unwind when the pressure is off, get to know teammates a little better, or reconnect with those at home.
Warzone: How Call of Duty's Battle Royale Is Helping Top Athletes
For England's Euro 2020 star Jack Grealish, the game is a great way to stay connected with teammates after training.
“I’m a big Call of Duty fan and I’ve loved Warzone since it launched a year ago," he said.
"It was quite surreal filming and now featuring in an ad for the game! Season 4 is an exciting release and I’m sure it’ll be a great way to keep the competition going between the lads after training and games.”
You can see Jack bicycle kick a hand grenade in the season 3 trailer below:
For Lions Rugby player Anthony Watson, Warzone was the perfect way to pass the time on England duty amid COVID restrictions.
“In England camp we had a lot of restrictions, so outside of training playing Warzone was where we spent most of our time - I got to know a lot of lads better through it for sure. It also made me hate a few boys I love because of their cowardice in the Warzone!” he said.
Olympic Champion Adam Peaty says the game helped him maintain social circles while in quarantine.
“Warzone is a massive decompression for me and a good opportunity to have some fun with friends especially during quarantine. You can still connect, still have fun. It's also a great way for team bonding. I remember playing with Duncan Scott (fellow Team GB Swimmer) earlier in the year as a good way to keep in touch, especially if you have teammates up in Scotland or down in Bath."
"All in all, it's a perfect way to decompress but also communicate and be social. It's been a huge help to have Warzone and I played it pretty much every day during the first lockdown. Now that I have a young child, it's a bit different but I still try and play for a few hours at the end of the day to have a chat with my mates and teammates."
Tennis pro Nick Kyrgios turned to Warzone after his recent match against Ugo Humbert, and said it helped him take his mind off of the aches and pains of physical competition - and plays with his girlfriend.
“I was in so much pain physically after last night, been a long time since I’ve played… I’m using this as a change of scenery really. I’m gonna go to the hotel, play some Call of Duty with my girlfriend and come back out again!”
Finally, Ben Pritchard, Paralympic athlete uses the game to stay in contact with his brothers and friends.
“I use the Playstation and Call of Duty to relax and keep in touch with my brothers and friends," he explains.
"It's always been a great way for me to de-stress and just relax with the boys group. This year has seen a significant increase in my game time and if I'm honest I'm loving every minute of it! Having a couple of hours in Verdansk after a hard day's training is just the tonic I need to relax for the evening. I've even got the sculling squad and coaches involved too!"
It's clear Warzone is many things to many people - let us know in the comments what keeps you dropping into Verdansk.