Activision apparently has made some changes today that will radically impact three different Call of Duty studios in one fell swoop. According to some sources from Kotaku, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software were scheduled to have their next iteration of the series ready for 2020. However, according to the source, the project is “a mess” and now Activision has made the decision to move up their dependable studio, Treyarch, to the 2020 slot instead. This essentially means that Call of Duty Black Ops 5 is now planned for a 2020 release.
Treyarch will take over creative leadership on the development while Sledgehammer and Raven support them with other aspects. One of which will allegedly be a full single-player campaign which would be a welcome return as Black Ops 4 infamously did not have one. And as always, the game will more than likely launch for multiple platforms, such as PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. Of course, this will released in 2020 which by that time we will probably have a good idea of when to expect the PlayStation 5 and the new Xbox.
Not only does this take away the work that Sledgehammer and Raven have already put in, but it also forces Treyarch to move their development schedule up by a full year. That is an insane turnaround time for a major AAA title to be completed in, and it’s usually in these situations where we start to hear about the long overtime hours and the excessive crunch time that the employees begin to endure. Granted, they’ve more than likely been working on it since Black Ops 4 released, but the development of a video game is sensitive and delicate process that cannot be rushed through.
Speaking of delicate, Sledgehammer Games hasn’t had the best relationship with their owners/publishers Activision these past two years. Their last game in the series, WWII, had strong sales numbers, but failed to make an impact for the franchise. Worse, in the same report, it was stated that Sledgehammer and Raven’s working relationship has been acrimonious at best during development, apparently leading to arguments over creative direction. It’s not a pretty situation, and it’s possible this was the main reason that Activison had to step in and make the change.
For now, Treyarch will lead the main development while Sledgehammer and Raven give them support with other details. But their is no doubt that this turnaround will be looked at heavily once Black Ops 5 does launch in 2020, and it’s success will depend on how all three work together. In other news, we’re still waiting on Infinity Ward’s eventual reveal for their next Call of Duty, which is still supposed to be sometime this month. Rumors state that it will be another Modern Warfare, but we’ll just have to wait and see.