Call of Duty's pattern of cycling through developers over a three-year period appears to be coming to an end. 2020's installment will be developed by Treyarch and will be a new game in the Black Ops sub-series.
According to Kotaku, publisher Activision has informed developers that previous project leads Raven and Sledgehammer won't be in charge of Call of Duty 2020 anymore. Treyarch will once again be taking the reins in order to create Call of Duty: Black Ops 5. Raven and Sledgehammer will move to support roles. The work the two studios have done on the game so far will contribute to Black Ops 5's story campaign. Treyarch's game will still be set during the Cold War, as Call of Duty 2020 was originally supposed to be. We're expecting new consoles in late 2020 so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 as a next-gen launch title.
This is an unusual move for Activision. The publisher has maintained the three-developer cycle since 2012. Treyarch usually gets three years to develop games, but this time it's only getting two. Kotaku's Jason Schreier says several employees aren't happy about this. They're worried about more brutal crunch looming over the horizon. Others say it's a positive move and that Treyarch has a solid base upon which to build for Call of Duty: Black Ops 5. Raven Software and Sledgehammer have supposedly been at odds with one another, which could go some way towards explaining what's happened here. Remember, Activision hasn't confirmed this; it's still speculation at this point. We'll know more in the coming weeks and months.
In the Kotaku piece, Schreier says Sledgehammer has been losing employees at a worrying rate recently. There was also the recent news that Activision didn't do quite as well on Black Ops 4 as the company had hoped. Whether it's a good idea to overhaul development at this stage remains to be seen. Activision is probably looking for a reliable product to push its early next-gen strategy, and although Black Ops 4 didn't meet expectations, it still sold pretty well. Time will tell what the future holds for the Call of Duty franchise.
Are you looking forward to a potential new Black Ops game? Let us know in the comments below!