When word came through that Call of Duty: Ghosts would make the leap to next-gen along with many of its fellow annual releases, fans were eager to see how Infinity Ward would use the new hardware. But, as we now know, despite some genuine overall polish and sharper visuals, Ghosts was not a next-gen release, not fully at least.
Thankfully, Activision’s follow-up to Call of Duty: Ghosts, the yet to be named 2014 release of Call of Duty, will be a genuine next-gen title. In fact, as Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg puts it, the title is being developed as “next-gen first.”
While not much is known about this next Call of Duty, which is the first COD title developed by Sledgehammer Games, fans at least have a little better idea as far as what to expect. With an obvious focus on next-gen, Sledgehammer Games has the potential to craft their own unique take on Call of Duty, and that’s exactly what they plan on doing.
In the past, Call of Duty development has been a “horse race” with Activision calling all hands on deck in order to help Infinity Ward or Treyarch get their year’s title to the finish line. Not anymore.
With Call of Duty‘s new three-year development cycle, developers will have plenty of time to learn the many nuances of the new hardware, and to innovate in ways that they see fit. As Hirshberg explains, Activision has always given its Call of Duty developers a fair bit of freedom, and that will not change for Sledgehammer Games.
“On the two-year cycle, with the level of content we were putting in the games, it became a real horse race each and every time to get everything done that we wanted to get done. With next-gen hardware, we’ve got more capabilities than ever before to play with and we want to make sure our developers have the time to innovate, iterate, to bring the best creative vision and the most possible polish to each and every game.”
Unfortunately, Hirshberg was tight-lipped regarding any gameplay details. We will likely have to wait a few more months before this next Call of Duty is officially unveiled, but Hirshberg’s comments have us intrigued. We presumed that the three-year development cycle would mean good things for the franchise’s future — which has been called into serious question amidst declining sales — and we were apparently right.
That isn’t to say that Sledgehammer Games’ forthcoming title will right the ship, but at the very least hopefully it will introduce some new concepts to reinvigorate the franchise. And with some powerful machines at their fingertips, perhaps all three Call of Duty developers will find ways to make the series feel new again.
Also, in case anyone was wondering, Hirshberg promises that the current-gen versions of Call of Duty (2014) will be “great.” But, as he said, the title will be a next-gen title first, and the current-gen platforms will be spun off from that.
What do you hope to see from Sledgehammer’s Call of Duty? What would make you consider it “next-gen?”
Call of Duty 2014 is likely targeting a fall release on current and next-gen platforms.