Activision won't be releasing an annual Call of Duty title in 2023, marking the first time the series has gone without a new game since as far back as 2005, a new report suggests.
According to Bloomberg, citing multiple unnamed sources familiar with the project, Activision is pointing towards "a recent entry" in the series not performing as well as the publisher would like as the reason for the delay. The game isn't named, but let's be honest, it's probably Vanguard, right? The game's launch sales were down 40% compared to 2020's CoD game – and that's a pretty hardcore slump.
So what is going to fill that giant Call of Duty-sized hole in the middle of the gaming industry for a full 12 months, instead? Well, according to Bloomberg, Activision is instead working on a free-to-play Call of Duty title that will be released next year to go alongside the new entry due this fall. This free-to-play title could very well be something akin to the 'new Warzone' experience that the company has hinted at before. Bloomberg asserts that this other title will "receive a steady stream of additional content".
It's reported that Treyarch will be leading development on the 2022 free-to-play title.
Activision has responded to the Bloomberg article by saying: "We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right." Note that there's no outright denial of the claims in the Bloomberg article here. It's worth noting that staff at the publisher have noted their desire for the series to drop its yearly routine – and now it seems their wishes are coming true.
In the shorter term, we can expect Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 to be “built from the ground-up” by its developer, Infinity Ward. This game – and the next few Call of Duty titles, whenever they launch – will appear on both Xbox and PlayStation consoles, despite Microsoft's Activision acquisition that took place earlier this year.
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.