While industry insiders from various publications and here at ModernWarzone have confirmed that the next Call of Duty would be a return to the Black Ops universe, we have yet to receive an official reveal for Call of Duty 2020. No trailers. No release date. Nothing at all.
Even in this drug-induced fever dream that is 2020 (which we will all wake up from any time now), you think Activision would have released some resemblance of news about their upcoming Call of Duty. Which is why I’m pretty worried about the status of the game.
Let’s get a few things out in the open right away. This isn’t a hate piece about CoD 2020. I’m still excited to play it and Treyarch is actually my favorite Call of Duty developer. It’s also not lost on me that I’m writing about a game we physically haven’t seen yet. This could be a case of Activision wanting all of the focus on Modern Warfare for a little while longer and I could easily be blowing this out of proportion.
Furthermore, game development is tough for a variety of reasons. Just because I’m worried about a game doesn’t mean I’m trashing another person’s hard work. I simply want to temper some potentially high expectations before Treyarch and Activision officially unveil this thing.
So, with that said, here are 3 reasons why you should curb your expectations going into CoD 2020:
Do… do I really need to say anything here? It’s pretty self-explanatory.
Fine. I’ll talk about it.
COVID-19 has essentially shut down everything at some point over the past six months from our normal jobs to sports to the entertainment industry. And it’s had a monumental impression on gaming. Both good and bad.
Let’s start with the good. It seems that a lot of people have picked up the hobby of gaming since the pandemic began. According to SuperData, April 2020 and June 2020 saw record-breaking numbers for the gaming industry. Long story short, people are buying and spending money on video games more than ever before.
I can hear your screaming, “What does this have to do with Call of Duty?” I’m getting there. Bear with me before you get the pitchforks out.
For a lot of people, working from home has been great too! This includes game developers who constantly work long hours at the office. But these various delays from games like Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel’s Avengers, Dying Light 2, and so many more have proven that the corona has had a huge negative impact on the gaming industry as well. CoD 2020 is not magically exempt from this impact.
It also doesn’t help that the game already was going through a rough development cycle.
2) Treyarch Took Over From Raven Software And Sledgehammer Games
In 2012, Activision added Sledgehammer Games to its annual Call of Duty development cycle. Treyarch would make their installment, pass the CoD license over to Infinity Ward, and then Infinity Ward would do the same thing for Sledgehammer Games. This cycle became the new normal for the franchise.
Initially, CoD 2020 was supposed to be developed by Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software. It was also said that the game would take place during the Cold War (sound familiar?).
In 2019, Kotaku reported that CoD 2020 was going through a major shakeup. Sledgehammer and Raven were moved to supporting roles and Activision put Treyarch at the head of the project. According to the Kotaku report, one of the major factors behind the move was due to tension between those at Raven Software and Sledgehammer Games.
So Treyarch was called in to save the game heading into the second half. That’s not… great. But it’s also not necessarily a death sentence for a video game. However, take a look at this quote from the Kotaku article:
“What this means is that rather than getting three years to make their next game after Black Ops 4, Treyarch will have just two. Some at the company say they’re not pleased about that, and are already bracing for brutal overtime hours like they faced last year on Black Ops 4. Others have told Kotaku they’re excited about the change, as they have a solid game plan that isn’t likely to change drastically, unlike their last two projects.”
To be fair, some at Treyarch did reportedly say that this change wouldn’t be that huge of an issue. But that was a year ago. When you couple in the people worried about brutal overtime and add the current global pandemic into the mix, there is a valid cause for concern going into CoD 2020. There’s also the matter of 2019’s Call of Duty, Modern Warfare.
3) It’s Nearly Impossible To Top Modern Warfare’s Success
Let’s face it. Even with its faults, Modern Warfare has been the most successful Call of Duty to release in quite some time. Infinity Ward took everything seriously from the gritty campaign to the easily accessible Warzone mode. Whether you enjoyed the game or not, you can’t deny that they put a ton of work into this.
That work paid off too. Modern Warfare is a huge financial and critical success. Not only is it the best selling Call of Duty of all-time but it has been one of the best selling games of 2020. Critically, the game has been received rather well with great scores from IGN, GamesBeat, Game Informer, Twinfinite, and more.
But they had years to develop this game and the luxury of not working in a pandemic. A lot of people right now are looking at Treyarch’s upcoming Call of Duty as their answer to Modern Warfare. They’re going to reboot Black Ops and overhaul everything from top to bottom. Simple, right?
That’s just an impossible expectation to live up to, especially right now.
Due to those 3 reasons, it’s very unlikely that CoD 2020 is going to topple Modern Warfare in financial or critical success. And that’s okay.
Let’s take a minute and see what CoD 2020 is first before we start dumping high expectations on this still unannounced game.