Did the first Call of Duty really come out in 2003? It really did, and sadly for those of us of a certain vintage, it serves to remind us that we are getting old…

But what an amazing job the folks at Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer and Activision have done to keep the ‘franchise’ fresh for nearly 20 years – from the original WWII iterations, through Modern Warfare and Black Ops, to literally dozens of standalone adaptations and mobile versions.

We think we’ve played most of them (okay, we maybe gave Finest Hour a miss), so we’re tremendously excited about Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, which was given the big reveal by Activision this evening via Warzone – check out the latest trailer

A lot of the details were leaked via yesterday’s Warzone patch files, but here are the top 5 officially confirmed things you need to know about the new game:

1. It is a new game

It’s not a re-boot or a redux, as was widely expected. It’s a Treyarch/Raven production and is a direct sequel to 2010’s original Black Ops – and both those things make us very happy. What’s more, you’ll be able to get your hands on it from November 13th across not just PS4, Xbox One and PC, but also the soon-to-be-released PS5 and Xbox Series X (in ‘Holiday 2020’). It’s going to be an expensive Q4 in our house (see point 4)…

2. We’re going back to the 1980s

But not the fun 1980s with big hair, shoulder pads and Simon Le Bon. This will be a darker, Depeche Mode-style 1980s, at the height of tensions between the East and West, with a single player campaign that throws our favourite characters from the original BLOPS (Woods! Hudson! Mason!), plus your own custom character, right into the meat grinder. Exotic and not so exotic locations include Vietnam, East Berlin, Moscow and Turkey, centred around the real life stealing by the Soviets of US atomic weapons secrets and Reagan subsequently hunting them down. It’s a history lesson to boot, then.

3. The undead return

We’re going to have to wait a bit longer for full details of the multiplayer options (put September 9th in your diaries), but fans of Zombies rejoice – they’ll be coming your way in wave after wave after wave of undead. The Warzone battle royal mode will be integrated as core component that ties all incarnations of COD together, plus you’ll have cross-platform functionality – yay!

4. It’ll cost more for cross-gen

It’s a fascinating time to be launching a AAA game, as we’re on the cusp of a major hardware transition, and publishers are taking different approaches to how they manage that complication. What’s now clear is that we’re going to have to cough up some cash to upgrade to a PS5/Xbox Series X version for BLOPS Cold War. What do we mean? Well, the base version won’t be upgradable to PS5/Xbox Series X for free – instead you’ll need to fork out for either the cross-gen or Ultimate Edition SKUs for that privilege. Or… wait until PS5/Xbox Series X are out and buy the base game then. We kinda hoped it wouldn’t be the case, given the likes of Cyber Punk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be offering free next-gen upgrades.

5. Single-player has had an overhaul

The big thing we learned during today’s reveal is that the single player gameplay is set to be far more free form than we’ve seen in the franchise previously. There will be elements of stealth required during infiltrations, and decisions made by the player that will impact the story and how the game ends (though it’s still not clear just how many possible endings there will be). Players will also be able to pick a non-binary ‘Classified’ character profile for the first time, with dialogue adjusted to use them/they pronouns accordingly, which is great to see.

…But that’s enough about what we think: What’s the media saying? Here’s are five insta-reactions you should check out: