Activision has decided to tack an extra year onto the development cycle of each incoming Call of Duty game, bringing the total up to three. Of course, this would mean adding at third team into the rotation, and Activision has just guys for the job. Joining Treyarch and Infinity Ward in development will be the newest kid on the block, Sledgehammer Games.
Activision stated in a conference call that this move will give more time to the game's developers to explore more possibilities with DLC and make the games more polished.
"This will give our designers more time to envision and innovate for each title. Simultaneously, it will give our content creators more focus on DLC and micro-DLC which, as you know, have become large and high-margin opportunities and significant engagement drivers. Finally, it will give our teams more time to polish, helping ensure we deliver the best possible experience to our fans each and every time."
I wonder if someone is tired of the criticism it receives for pushing out the same relative game every year, but I think Sledgehammer is really going to shake up the Call of Duty series in ways it hasn't seen yet.
Co-founders Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey are best known for their breakout hit Dead Space back with EA before moving to Activision to pitch a third-person spin-off series for Call of Duty.
Sledgehammer's game proposal has never seen the light of day because the studio was forced to pick up the slack Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella had left behind when they hit the trail during the development of Modern Warfare 3. The shift had derailed its project, but earned the studio a lot of praise after Modern Warfare 3 became the biggest selling entertainment launch in history.
"They've demonstrated their skill on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and on their past highly-rated games," Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said of Sledgehammer Games during the call.
We don't yet know if this newest Call of Duty series under Sledgehamer games will be a typical outing or something special along the lines of Dead Space. I would love to see Activision take a gamble on something fresh. The last time it did with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, it started a whole new movement in the video game world, for good or ill.
Still, dedicating three studios to making one franchise sounds a little too risky.
Sledgehammer will be premiering their first solo Call of Duty game later this year, and for once, I am excited about what Activision might have in store for the series. I'm hoping for the spin-off game, because I am a huge Dead Space fan.