In an announcement that has shocked absolutely nobody, Activision has confirmed it will be publishing a new Call of Duty game this year. What is news, however, is that developer of the latest entry in the juggernaut shooter franchise has been revealed to be Sledgehammer Games.
Notoriously, Call of Duty games cycle between multiple developers in order to ensure a new installment can be released annually. Call of Duty 2021 will see Sledgehammer return to helm the franchise after previously taking development lead on 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII and 2014’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The studio has also worked in a support capacity for Infinity Ward and Treyarch on more recent Call of Duty games.
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This information was announced during Activision’s Q1 earnings call, with Activision bosses claiming that the game is “looking great” and “on track” for release this fall. That may come as a relief to Call of Duty fans, as behind the scene whispers have suggested the 2021 entry in the series has faced a very rocky development road.
The game is confirmed to include a full campaign, as well as multiplayer (duh!) and some form of co-op mode. The game will also “integrate with and enhance the existing Call of Duty ecosystem."
Cutting through the marketing speak, this likely refers to the game’s compatibility with Call of Duty: Warzone. It’s likely the free-to-play battle royal mode will undergo themed changes to tie in with the new game as happened with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
During the earnings call, it was also stated that the game is built as a “next-generation experience." This could mean that the game opts to release exclusively for the PS5 and Xbox Series X on console, skipping the PS4 and Xbox One entirely. Although seeing as Call of Duty didn’t abandon the PS3 and Xbox 360 until they were two years out-of-date, we’d be surprised to see the series committing solely to next-gen just yet.
Little else is known about Call of Duty 2021, although a persistent rumor claims that it will be called Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard, and could feature an alternate history take on World War II.
Seeing as Sledgehammer developed Call of Duty: WWII, it would make sense for them to handle a sequel. Activision may however want to go with something completely fresh in order to compete with Battlefield 6 which is also scheduled to launch this year.
The earnings call also revealed that Call of Duty continues to be a gaming behemoth. With 150 million active monthly users across all supported Call of Duty titles. So don’t expect the annualized entries in the series to go away anytime soon, there will almost certainly be a new Call of Duty every year for the foreseeable future.