I personally loved Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. While I will agree that the engine needs a complete overhaul, the Call of Duty gameplay is certainly at its best in Treyarch’s latest title. You can call it a rehash and an innovation killer, but you’ll find it hard to come up with a shooter that is as refined as the Call of Duty franchise. It’s no surprise then that Activision have confirmed the release of yet another Call of Duty this year, but will it be a next-gen title?
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg confimred that a new Call of Duty would be releasing at the end of this year, around the same period the publisher has been using as well. Interestingly, Hirshberg also stated that the company doesn’t expect this latest entry to do as well as Black Ops 2, which shattered all previous sales records.
“The Call of Duty franchise continues to set the bar for innovation and we expect the new Call of Duty game in development for 2013 to raise that bar even higher.”
Now, while I loved Black Ops 2, I wouldn’t exactly call the franchise as a whole “innovative”. Activision CFO Dennis Durkin added some clarity to the reasoning behind “low” sales expectations.
“There is increased volatility this year due to the ongoing console transition, which makes predicting the future more challenging than during normal years in the cycle. For Call of Duty, consistent with our past practices, we are planning for the mainline release in Q4 to be down versus 2012.”
Now that poses an interesting question; are Activision going to bite the bullet and release the next Call of Duty early in the next-gen cycle? This could explain why the publisher doesn’t expect the next title to break sales records, regardless of the fact that every annual release has done just that. Microsoft and Sony are both rumoured to release their new consoles at the end of this year, so it could just be a matter of Activision diving in early.
It has already been rumoured that a next-gen Call of Duty title was being developed, so could this be it? No developer was announced for the latest entry, but you can definitely rule Treyarch out considering they released Black Ops 2 three months ago. That leaves four other developers who could be working on a next-gen Call of Duty, namely Sledgehammer Games, Infinity Ward, Raven Software and Neversoft Entertainment.
It’s a risky strategy in terms of a loss in sales, but it’s not like Activision is posting losses every year now is it. Expect more on this very soon.