That’s according to a report by Kotaku, which claims the relationship between previous joint lead studios Sledgehammer (CoD: WWII) and Raven (Singularity) had suffered so much that Activision moved them into support roles for the 2020 game.
Treyarch will now lead development on Black Ops 5 for 2020, which will attempt to salvage work completed for Raven and Sledgehammer’s game, which was due to be set during the Cold War, likely in Vietnam, the report claims.
The move would mark a significant shift for Activision’s Call of Duty series, which since 2012 has alternated its development between three studios: Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer, with Raven regularly providing development support.
For Sledgehammer, the removal of its co-lead development duties would exacerbate an already difficult period, following the departure of co-founders and studio heads Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield in February 2018.
Earlier this year, Condrey formed a new studio with the publisher 2K and is said to have recruited “dozens” of Sledgehammer staff.
2019’s Call of Duty is understood to be Modern Warfare 4 by Infinity Ward. In its earnings call this month, Activision said it feels “incredibly good” about this year’s game.
“It will be revealed later this quarter, when it will become clear why we’re really excited for this year’s release,” Activision Publishing president Rob Kostich said.
According to the Kotaku report, Activision is considering including a free-to-play component with Modern Warfare 4, although it’s not clear yet what this would entail.