Call of Duty: Black Ops just launched, but that does not mean rumors and speculation regarding the next Call of Duty game will stop. The latest rumors seem to combine pieces of previously known or speculated information to conclude that the next entry in the popular franchise will be developed by Sledgehammer Games, launch in 2011, will be set in the future, and will feature ‘space marines’.

As we first reported back in May, Sledgehammer Games does seem to be working on a Call of Duty game. More recently, however, analyst Mike Hickey of Janco Partners suggested specifically that Sledgehammer was working on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and that the game would likely launch in fiscal 2011. During Activision’s recent financial call to investors, Activision’s publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg did mention a new Call of Duty launching in the back half of 2011 and that it would be an FPS, but he did not provide any real details on the game or confirm Sledgehammer’s role as developer. With that information it looks like Mike Hickey might have the right call, but now some industry sources suggest Sledgehammer’s Call of Duty is not what most would think of as Modern Warfare 3. Instead, it will take place in the future.

The lack of concrete facts or confirmation from Activision makes knowing which rumors to believe a little difficult, but a futuristic Call of Duty does not seem that farfetched. Previously, Activision’s COO Thomas Tippl has stated the next Call of Duty “will broaden the audience” and  Sledgehammer boss Glen Schofield did say the studios first game is “quite unique” and would “bring something new and exciting to [their] fans.”

Out of all the rumors, speculation, and news a few things remain consistent, Sledgehammer is working on a Call of Duty game and a Call of Duty game is set to release sometime in 2011. The setting of the game, however, remains up for debate.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe Sledgehammer is making the next Call of Duty game? Do you think it will be a more traditional Modern Warfare setting or do you think it will go into the future? Which setting would you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Gamasutra, VG247.

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