The Call of Duty title due out in 2020—not to be confused with the 2019-due Call of Duty rumored to be a new Modern Warfare—will no longer be led by Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software, who until now had led the project, according to a Kotaku report.
Since 2012, the yearly cycle of Call of Duty games had been developed by Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games. Treyarch released Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII in 2018 and Infinity Ward is leading this year’s Call of Duty.
For 2020, Activision originally assigned support studio Raven Software to co-lead development with Sledgehammer Games on a Cold War-set Call of Duty, but that changed “very recently,” according to the report. Instead, the 2020-due Call of Duty has reportedly become Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 developed by Treyarch, with Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software serving as support.
The development work put into the Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software version of the 2020-due Call of Duty will reportedly be transformed into the single-player story mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops 5, which is also said to be set during the Cold War. The game’s release will likely coincide with the launch of the next PlayStation and Xbox, which are expected in fall 2020, as a cross-generation title.
Some developers at Treyarch expressed concern to Kotaku over having two years rather than the usual three to develop the next Call of Duty, while others expressed excitement as they have a solid game plan in place that is not likely to change.
One of the major reasons behind the upheaval of the 2020-due Call of Duty is reportedly tension between Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software, who are said to have argued frequently during the game’s co-led development. Two people familiar with the project described it as a mess.
Kotaku also reported that Activision executives have discussed embracing the free-to-play revenue model and are looking into offering a free-to-play component for the 2019-due Call of Duty—although the specifics may not be finalized and some are reluctant to the idea.