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This year's Call of Duty may be more Far Cry than CoD, and next year's game has no lead studio - report

There may be some turmoil, and much needed change, at Activision's big Call of Duty house.

You know last year’s Call of Duty didn’t do numbers when you start hearing rumours about this year’s entry so early in the year. Modern Warfare 3 was poorly received by critics and many casual players, and it broke Call of Duty’s best-selling streak in North America.

Call of Duty 2024 looks to be set to turn things around, but not in the way you may have expected. As for next year’s game, well, that’s a whole other story.

We first heard about the 2024 Call of Duty in a report from November last year, which said that the Treyarch-developed game is a Black Ops sequel dubbed Black Ops Gulf War. Now, according to a new Insider Gaming report, the game’s campaign is going to adopt an open world approach.

Modern Warfare 3, of course, famously re-purposed Warzone assets in what the game called Open Combat Missions, which (mostly) ended up being unengaging filler. Black Ops Gulf War’s approach, however, will be more akin to Far Cry. The game has reportedly been built from the ground up with this in mind, where levels will offer players the freedom to explore on foot, or find vehicles to tackle objectives. As with most open-world games, this one is said to also feature a fast travel system.

It may not surprise you to learn, then, that though Treyarch is leading multiplayer and Zombies development, the campaign is being handled by Warzone’s Raven Software. According to the report, this open world direction may be one that persists moving forward. Standard, linear Call of Duty missions supposedly exist in Black Ops Gulf War, so you can imagine future games will likewise include a mix of both.

A soldier in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
We're going back to this, huh? | Image credit: VG247/Activision

The more shocking revelation in the report, however, concerns next year’s Call of Duty. The 2025 title is said to be a direct sequel to Black Ops 2, which took place in the near future, but the new report suggests the game has no lead studio.

This is especially worrying for the series’ future, as it was understood that 2025 would be Infinity Ward’s turn to deliver a title. Call of Duty games have been operating on a three-year development cycle, with one clear lead studio undertaking the bulk of the work, while receiving support from other studios at Activision.

Call of Duty 2025 is also said to have an open-world map, and it might even lean even harder into that direction with distinct biomes. The report does not make clear who is behind the pitch, if no team is taking the lead.

Nevertheless, it looks like Call of Duty games, their structure, and the people behind them will all undergo major changes in the future.

If you’re still deep into Modern Warfare 3, our guide for best meta loadouts for Modern Warfare 3 is well worth a read. That also goes for players looking to return in time for Season 2.

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