Amidst turmoil at Infinity Ward, developers of the Modern Warfare franchise, Activision announced the future path of the Call of Duty franchise.
The plans include the formation of a dedicated business unit that intends to expand the Call of Duty brand with the same focus seen in the publisher's Blizzard Entertainment business unit. This will include a focus on "high-margin digital online content" as well as reaching into new genres and with new digital business models – which some may read as a possibility for a CoD MMO.
"2010 will be another important year for the Call of Duty franchise," stated Mike Griffith, President and CEO of Activision Publishing. "In addition to continued catalog sales, new downloadable content from Infinity Ward and a new Call of Duty release, we are excited about the opportunity to bring the franchise to new geographies, genres and players."
The company expects to release a new Call of Duty game from Treyarch this fall. In addition, Infinity Ward is in development on the first two downloadable map packs for Modern Warfare 2 for release in 2010.
Seeing the cash cow in Call of Duty, Activision has formed an entirely new development studio dedicated to a new game that will "extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre" for release in 2011. The new studio is called Sledgehammer Games and is helmed by industry veterans Glen A. Schofield and Michael Condrey, both who previously worked on Dead Space for EA.
Yesterday, the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare community was shook by the news that Infinity Ward bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West were dismissed by Activision over what the publisher termed as "breaches of contract and insubordination." BingeGamer believes that the disagreement came from withheld royalties from Modern Warfare 2, while Kotaku thinks that it might be down to creative differences.