Activision has responded to VGC’s report highlighting the new Call of Duty trailer’s near-complete omission of reference to the company, amid ongoing allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.
Call of Duty: Vanguard premiered this week with a three-minute trailer. The video opens with “Call of Duty presents” instead of ‘Activision presents’ and does not include Activision’s logo at all, breaking from usual protocol.
In the entire video, the only mention of Activision is in the legally required copyright small print.
The trailer elements were perceived as an attempt to distance Activision Blizzard’s biggest brand from the numerous allegations of wrongdoing aimed at the company. As noted by a social media user, Activision has also omitted its logo from Call of Duty Vanguard’s pre-order page.
Now, responding to a request for comment from journalist Stephen Totilo, a company spokesperson has claimed the decision was “a creative choice”.
“Call of Duty has continued to expand into an incredible universe of experiences. This was a creative choice that reflects how Vanguard represents the next major installment in the franchise.”
Activision Blizzard’s reputation has been severely tarnished in recent weeks, following the filing of a lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which accuses the company of failing to handle sexual harassment and discrimination complaints.
The lawsuit, and Activision Blizzard’s subsequent response, led to a staff walkout accompanied by an open letter signed by thousands of current and former employees.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claimed during an earnings call this month that the company will “set the example” on how to handle sexual harassment and discrimination in the games industry, but its own shareholders have called this response “inadequate”.
SOC Investment Group, which owns shares in Activision Blizzard, sent a letter to the company’s lead independent director stating that CEO Bobby Kotick‘s response to the lawsuit and its subsequent employee backlash does “not go nearly far enough” to address the issues involved.