Statements released by Activision today should be quite alarming to Call of Duty fans. In a nutshell, Activision has announced that they plan to dilute the brand as quickly and thoroughly as possible by ensuring yearly releases, multi-genre releases, and a continued push into the MMO realm. Activision today announced that in 2011 a game in the Call of Duty franchise would be coming from a newly formed studio, known as Sledgehammer Games.
It’s all speculation at this point, but it looks like Infinity Ward was getting a little tired of the Call of Duty franchise being their only product, so Activision formed another studio to help carry the load (as they have been doing with Treyarch). Inifinity Ward is currently developing the two map packs for Modern Warfare 2 that are due out this year, but after that it would be hard to imagine that they are doing much with Treyarch responsible for the 2010 game and Sledgehammer being responsible for the 2011 release.
In a statement regarding the future of the franchise, Activision had this to say:
“2010 will be another important year for the Call of Duty franchise,” stated Mike Griffith, President and CEO of Activision Publishing. “In addition to continued catalog sales, new downloadable content from Infinity Ward and a new Call of Duty release, we are excited about the opportunity to bring the franchise to new geographies, genres and players.”
Typical PR blabber, for sure. As the details come out more fully we’ll all know more, but for now it really feels like the best days of the Call of Duty franchise are behind us. Just like Activision ran Guitar Hero into the ground, I see the same happening to Call of Duty.