Since the first Call of Duty title released in 2003, the popular first-person shooter has had a new entry each and every year. Original developers Treyarch and Infinity Ward will alternate, each having two years to develop a new Call of Duty game. In 2014, Activision switched it up with Sledgehammer Games releasing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, effectively making it a three-year cycle.
This year’s Call of Duty would have been Sledgehammer’s turn; however they were pulled off the project with Treyarch taking over, leaving only two years between this new Call of Duty and their last one in Black Ops 4. A two-year dev cycle is very short for a AAA title, and in the midst of a global pandemic has likely been very difficult for the Treyarch employees to ensure the game releases this year.
Activision should take a different approach going into 2021. If a new title was to release later in the year, it would likely be from Infinity Ward also, only giving the Santa Monica studio two years to develop the title, so why not give them extra time and release in 2022? Here’s why Call of Duty should take a year off in 2021.
When Activision and Infinity Ward released a new battle royale offering in Call of Duty: Warzone earlier this year it was an immediate hit with critics and fans of the genre alike. The fact that it was free-to-play brought floods of fans back to the franchise, with a recent posting by Call of Duty confirming Warzone has over 75 million registered players.
Over 75 million #Warzone players.
Thanks for dropping in with us. pic.twitter.com/6weFSphgLz
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) August 4, 2020
Activision has already confirmed that this year’s Call of Duty game will have “very tight integration” with Warzone in a recent earnings call. Warzone is already filled with lots of things to do, and adding a new Black Ops themed map to the game will only improve the game’s longevity. If a new title was not to be released in 2021, Treyarch, Infinity Ward and other side developers could continue to add new updates to Warzone with Treyarch and Raven’s mainline 2020 title also having updates.
The term ‘crunch’ is used largely around the gaming industry and is a major problem that must be addressed. For those unaware, ‘crunch’ is the final stages of a game’s development cycle where developers are working night and day to ensure their title is finished so that it meets the intended release date.
If Activision did continue with tradition and release a new Call of Duty game in 2021, it would likely come from Infinity Ward. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and only two years to make a new mainline Call of Duty game, the developers are very likely to face a brutal period of ‘crunch’ which can have a major impact on both their physical and mental wellbeing. These are people at the end of the day. If we have to wait an extra year for a new game then so be it. We will likely have a better product at the end of it and the Infinity Ward developers will not need to endure ‘crunch’ at its highest level.
Another reason why Activision should not release a new Call of Duty game in the latter part of next year is that we may have a spin-off game earlier in the year. According to reputable Call of Duty leaker TheGamingRevolution, Sledgehammer Games are making a free-to-play Call of Duty game that will release in the early part of next year and is some type of open-world Call of Duty game whilst also blending in elements of multiplayer and battle royale.
This would be a new direction for the Call of Duty franchise and how successful it will be is unknown. But in 2021, you could be looking at 2 free CoD games on the market, one of which is already a huge phenomenon as well as the mainline Treyarch game. Surely that should be enough to get us through 2021?
The Call of Duty franchise has been in this continuous path for many years by releasing a new title every year, even if it could do with a year off. 2021 is the perfect year to end this tradition. With the ongoing COVID-19 threat impacting the developer’s ability to work every day and the ongoing success of the free-to-play Warzone, why not give it a go and give the developers and the franchise itself a much-needed break?