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What just happened? For the first time since 2005, Activision is breaking Call of Duty’s annual release cycle by delaying 2023’s premium entry into the following year. This will not only give Infinity Ward’s upcoming 2022 Modern Warfare sequel and Warzone 2 more time to settle in with players, but also allow Treyarch to fine-tune and polish the experience for its 2024 iteration.
The quantity vs. quality aspect of the Call of Duty franchise hasn’t really bothered Activision for nearly two decades, considering how every new annual release tops the sales chart and brings in tons of money to the publisher. However, Jason Schreier of Bloomberg reports that next year’s main entry is being pushed back into 2024.
While it’s speculated that the delay could have to do with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Schreier notes that isn’t the case. What instead led to this decision has been CoD: Vanguard’s poor performance, at least compared to previous titles. Despite being the second biggest release of 2021, Sledgehammer Games’ Vanguard posted a 40 percent decline in launch sales over 2020’s Black Ops Cold War.
As for the ongoing year, the release of Infinity Ward’s MW sequel remains on track, while it looks like Warzone 2 will be filling the gap in 2023. A total of 11 studios are reportedly involved with this year’s CoD that’s built on a new engine, featuring more realistic gore and new mechanics like weapon jamming and a morality system in the main entry, while big changes to the BR formula are can be expected for the Warzone sequel.
Moreover, while the upcoming MW title can be safely expected to arrive on both last-gen and current-gen consoles, the free-to-play Warzone 2 and Treyarch’s premium 2024 entry will likely be current-gen only. Hopefully this means, among other improvements, the addition of a FOV slider for console players who've long requested this feature to compete more fairly with the PC community.