A Call of Duty game comes out every year, but sometimes the studio behind a certain release can be a mystery. The series typically operates on a three-year development schedule that cycles between Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer Games, but sometimes a wrench gets thrown into the mix that results in changes. Sledgehammer was the leading team behind 2020’s Call of Duty before handing things over to Treyarch for Black Ops Cold War, but now it looks like Sledgehammer is back in the leading role for Call of Duty 2021.
An official reveal is still a few months away, but notable Call of Duty leaker Tom Henderson posted a supposed development timeline that places Sledgehammer Games as the primary developer of Call of Duty 2021. Henderson has been correct about unannounced information in the past, and he has a proven track record when it comes to Call of Duty leaks. The posted timeline shows Sledgehammer starting the development of the next Call of Duty title in August 2019, just a few short months after handing Call of Duty 2020 over to Treyarch, who then transformed the title to Black Ops Cold War. His post also includes a potential November 12 release date for Sledgehammer’s game. This date would give Call of Duty 2021 a development period of two years and three months, which is a short but completely possible development timeline for a series that typically operates on a three-year schedule.
Sledgehammer started as a support studio for the Call of Duty franchise, assisting Infinity Ward and Treyarch on the Modern Warfare and Black Ops games. However, the developer took on a more prominent role within the series and began developing its own titles, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Call of Duty: WWII. Call of Duty 2021 would be the third game in the series led by Sledgehammer if this leak is to be believed. Sledgehammer was the initial developer behind Call of Duty 2020, but problems with development caused Treyarch to take control of the project and create a new Black Ops title.
As per usual, the Call of Duty community is already buzzing with rumors and ideas of what Sledgehammer’s potential Call of Duty game could look like. A sequel to either Advanced Warfare or WWII is a likely scenario, and that would mark the studio’s first Call of Duty sequel. If you ask us, an Advanced Warfare sequel is out of the question as the series seems to have moved past its exosuit phase and back into a more traditional boots on the ground formula.
Plus, the exceptional sales of Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War paired with the success of Warzone point to the series staying boots on the ground for a while, especially if Sledgehammer’s game will connect with Warzone. Exosuits in Verdansk would be quite the change, and it’s one that the community would likely not be happy with. Whatever the game ends up being, Warzone integration is inevitable, and given how Treyarch has handled Black Ops Cold War weapons in the game, it’s probably going to be a bumpy road for Warzone players this fall.
Call of Duty 2021 is currently in development for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. The game is rumored to be released on November 12.