Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier has spoken to “people familiar with the plan” and those people have said Call of Duty 2023 is not going ahead. It is believed that recent games, particularly Call of Duty Vanguard, have failed to meet expectations and that senior executives think they are churning out the games too quickly.
This year’s game, a sequel to 2019’s reboot of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, will go ahead and will have long tail of content. That game is being developed by Infinity Ward while Treyarch, who working on the 2023 title, will now help out on a new free-to-play game that is will launch in the gap left by Call of Duty 2023. It is also expected that content for Call of Duty Warzone will continue.
The decision is said to have taken place before Microsoft’s recent purchase of Activision.
“We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond,” a spokesman for Activision told Bloomberg. “We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.”
This is a case of history repeating itself, Activision have flogged their franchises into the ground many times before. Guitar Hero / DJ Hero and Skylanders flooded the market with various editions and peripherals and there’s only so many times players will put up with the same game with some added bells and whistles. Ubisoft had the same issue more recently and gave the Assassin’s Creed brand a break to refresh the franchise.
Call of Duty 2023 will leave a big hole in the retail market, the franchise still sells well as a physical product so stores like GAME and Gamestop will be worried that it has been replaced by a free-to-play title.
We rather liked Call of Duty Vanguard and gave it 9/10 in our review. “The stars have aligned for Call of Duty: Vanguard. For the first time, this truly feels like a full package without any caveats,” said Jim. “Sure, some parts are naturally stronger than others but there isn’t a weak link in sight. After back to back triumphs, Call of Duty is now on a killstreak.”