Sledgehammer Games is working on the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, according to the Activision Blizzard earnings call on May 4. This is one example of how Activision Blizzard is using its large number of studios to support the Call of Duty franchise, including Call of Duty: Warzone.
Since January of 2021, Activision Blizzard’s studios have undergone a handful of changes and layoffs, leaving some developers to change projects titles altogether. Overall, the company has shown that the Call of Duty franchise, mainly the battle royale Call of Duty: Warzone, is its main focus.
The news of the 2021 game — rumored to be titled Call of Duty WW2: Vanguard — came alongside a denial of rumors that the title would be delayed due to the pandemic. There were earlier rumors of development trouble, leading some professional players to believe that they would not see a new mainline series entry in 2021. Players thought that the Call of Duty League would have to repeat another year of Black Ops Cold War. However, the new game is “on track and looking great,” according to Activision.
Sledgehammer Games has not developed a Call of Duty title since the 2017’s Call of Duty: WWII.
Call of Duty: Warzone takes center stage
A number of Activision Blizzard studios have been shifted to prioritize Call of Duty: Warzone after it has become one of the most popular games in the world. Warzone broke the 100 million player threshold in April of 2021. Here are the studios that have been supporting it and other Call of Duty titles:
- Raven Software is apparently leading on Warzone, working with each studio to integrate new games into the battle royale
- Treyarch developed Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War while supporting Warzone
- Infinity Ward developed 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Sledgehammer Games is developing the rumored Call of Duty: WW2 Vanguard, to be integrated into Warzone
- Toys for Bob, which assisted development of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, is now working on Warzone
- Beenox, a Canadian studio that has worked on Call of Duty since 2015, also supports Warzone
Toys for Bob has allegedly gone through layoffs before moving to work on Warzone. These claims came from a former contract character designer at Toys for Bob. This came amidst news that the studio would be supporting Raven Software, Infinity Ward and others in working on Call of Duty: Warzone.
Activision denied layoff claims and said that Toys for Bob would continue support for Crash Bandicoot 4; this would be alongside the studio’s work on Warzone.
Warzone has been the focal point for most of Activision’s future plans after its explosive success over a year ago. Raven Software, supporting developers of several Call of Duty titles, have shifted their focus to Warzone. However, they have also been supporting Cold War since before it launched in 2020. Activision studios have had to blend Black Ops Cold War and Warzone together. This means that they’ve had to develop the same weapons and operators for both game engines. Sledgehammer’s upcoming game will also be integrated into Warzone.
Other changes at Activision Blizzard
Vicarious Visions is a studio that has worked alongside Activision from 2005 to 2021 to produce several Tony Hawk titles. As January, 2021 came to a close, the long-time publishing studio moved from Activision to the Blizzard side of the company.
This news devastated fans of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. By moving from Activision to Blizzard, the studio would no longer be creating games as the lead developer. Outside of Call of Duty and Warzone, Activision has also made changes to the departments surrounding the company.