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Activision has reportedly decided to delay next year’s Call of Duty game, thus marking the first time in nearly 20 years it’s skipped an annual release.
That’s according to Bloomberg, which claims that the company decided to push back the release of a new Treyarch-led game after last year’s Vanguard failed to meet expectations, “leading some executives to believe that they’re introducing new versions too rapidly”.
Activision is reportedly working on other projects to fill the gap next year, including “a steady stream of additional content” for this year’s premium CoD game, and a “new, free-to-play online title”.
A spokesperson for Activision told VGC: “We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond. Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.”
It was recently officially confirmed that this year’s Call of Duty release will be a sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot, developed by Infinity Ward. Activision is also working on a new iteration of battle royale game Warzone.
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Call of Duty’s year off will coincide with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, should the deal be completed as planned by summer 2023. However, Bloomberg claims this had no influence on the decision to delay next year’s game.
It’s noted that Call of Duty is often the best-selling console game in most years, so its sudden absence could be significant for the games market.
Following the launch of the free-to-play Warzone game in 2020, Call of Duty production has gone into overdrive. Activision confirmed last year that all of its core studios are now working on the franchise.
Since the 2019 Modern Warfare instalment, subsequent releases have been handled by Treyarch, Raven and Sledgehammer Games, meaning Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward will have had three years to prepare for this year’s sequel.
However, the past two CoD instalments, which were developed partly during the pandemic, were less well-received by fans.
2021’s Vanguard sales were also significantly down on its predecessor, even though it still topped sales rankings in the US, potentially further incentivising Activision to give the series a year off to improve quality.
Despite Microsoft’s proposed Acquisition of Activision, the company is reportedly committed to releasing at least the next three Call of Duty games for PlayStation consoles.