During Activision Blizzard‘s fourth quarter 2021 financial results on Thursday, the publisher confirmed that Infinity Ward will be leading development of the new Call of Duty game that's set to arrive in 2022. The team – as you'd expect from the cadence and rhythm of the Call of Duty teams at this point – will also work on Warzone content, similarly to how we saw the massive Pacific expansion land alongside Vanguard.
The news comes as Activision Blizzard noted that Warzone has seen "lower engagement" over the past few months compared to previous periods, and neglected to share sales figures for 2021's Call of Duty title, Vanguard. Call of Duty sales on console and PC have declined year-over-year, up to December 31, too. Though the company noted "player investment" on console and PC remained "well above" that of March 2020, there seemed to be general feeling that Call of Duty has – finally – lost some of its appeal.
To that end, the publisher is doing its best to sell the next game in the series as something of a reinvention, even going as far as to call it "a new generation of Call of Duty".
"The team is working on the most ambitious plan in franchise history, with industry-leading innovation and a broadly appealing franchise setting,” the company said. "Studio expansion has continued to add development resources worldwide as plans continue for ongoing live operations and new, unannounced titles in the Call of Duty universe."
We heard recently that top brass at Activision would very much like the days of a new Call of Duty every year to be over, and perhaps this 'new generation' would be a platform that would allow that to be the case?
It's also worth noting that the future of Call of Duty may well be tied to Microsoft's plans for the franchise – though we know Microsoft has "a desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation", it stands to reason that the platform holder will want to shape the series in a way that better benefits Game Pass and the Xbox ecosystem in years to come. Xbox wants to recoup on that $68.7 billion, after all.
It's reported that Call of Duty's next three games will still come to PlayStation, and that includes a potential Warzone 2 – could that be the 'new generation' listed here? It remains to be seen.
Let's not let any of this distract us from the clouds that hang heavy above Activision Blizzard; more than 20 Activision Blizzard employees have been fired from the company since the ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit was first filed, and the state of California has accused Activision Blizzard of "withholding" and "suppressing" evidence related to the case, and issued a formal objection to Activision Blizzard’s $18 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.