For over a decade now, Activision has established a clear pattern of alternating studios when it comes to its Call of Duty games. It assigns different main studios to work on Call of Duty so that the games have a three-year development cycle and a new game can come out every fall. Since Black Ops 4 released in 2018 and 2019's Call of Duty is from Infinity Ward, Raven Software and Sledgehammer Games were co-developing Call of Duty 2020. However, those plans have changed, with Treyarch taking over development to turn Call of Duty 2020 into Call of Duty: Black Ops 5.
This news comes from Kotaku, citing three separate anonymous sources. According to Kotaku's sources, the original Call of Duty 2020 would have a single-player campaign set during the Cold War, presumably Vietnam. Treyarch will retain this setting and transform the work already done on the campaign for Call of Duty: Black Ops 5.
Even though Treyarch is taking creative control over Call of Duty: Black Ops 5, Raven and Sledgehammer will remain on as support studios. Apparently, the change has happened because of disagreements between Raven and Sledgehammer over Call of Duty 2020, with staff members having argued frequently over the past year. Two of Kotaku's sources have described the game's development as "a mess."
Meanwhile, it seems not everyone at Treyarch is happy about only getting two years to make Call of Duty: Black Ops 5. After all, Treyarch just put out Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 this past November, and it's expected that employees at the studio will have to work serious overtime to meet deadlines for Black Ops 5. Not to mention Treyarch is still supporting Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 with expansions and other content updates.
It's unclear how this change will impact the Call of Duty franchise moving forward. If Treyarch is making Call of Duty 2020, does that mean Infinity Ward will only have two years to make Call of Duty 2021? Or will a new studio be given the reigns for Call of Duty 2021? It's hard to say at this point, especially since Call of Duty 2019 has yet to be officially revealed to the public, but we should find out within the next couple of years.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 is in development for unspecified platforms.