It seems that every year, no matter what kind of development price is paid, Activision seems to eke out a new Call of Duty game, right on schedule.
And while the games that have come out over the past year have been aces, we can’t help but wonder if that’s taken some kind of toll on the developers. There are three rotating teams – Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch – and they’ve all been working painstakingly hard to produce yearly Call of Duty games so that they fit the cycle with new single player and multiplayer content.
But the real question is this – should they follow a bi-yearly formula like Assassin’s Creed recently adopted?
At one point in time, Ubisoft was churning out yearly entries in the assassination series. But then it opted to calm down, working instead on bi-annual releases that focused more on a larger amount of content. And needless to say, it’s paid off.
Even though the team is working on a revolutionary model for the game with Assassin’s Creed Infinity, it’s currently set to support Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which has been well received by the community, with a second year of content.
“We will continue to deliver powerful Assassin’s Creed content over the coming months and years, starting with an ambitious post-launch plan for Valhalla, including the Siege of Paris expansion coming this summer, the release of the Discovery Tour Viking Age, and a very ambitious and surprising second year of content for the first time in the franchise’s history,” said chief financial officer Frédérick Duguet. “We are pushing the live service model to a level that allows Valhalla to be the best performer ever for the franchise to date, and we will be coming with exciting and new news and surprising [announcements], including for the second year of content.”
It sounds like this will be the most ambitious Creed content to come, making Valhalla an even bigger game. And, again, we can’t help but wonder what that would do for Call of Duty, should Activision decide to take that route.
After all, not every franchise has yearly entries. Sure, sports games do, but that’s just formula, and little tweaks are made to an existing engine, instead of new games built entirely from the ground up. With a bi-yearly model, Call of Duty could thrive with deeper entries, growing with more downloadable content. And Activision would still have cash in the coffers, based on what the free-to-play WarZone has made by itself.
But will it do it? Probably not. Kotick and his teams have already devoted themselves to continue on the annual format. But all it takes is one bad chapter to make the company re-examine what it’s doing. And, really, it’s better to just organically change than have, say, another mistake in their belt, like Ghosts kind of was.
We’ll see what happens with this year’s entry, being produced by Sledgehammer Games, in the weeks ahead. For now, the most current release, Cold War, is available now.
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