GamesRadar uncovers Call of Duty: Roman Wars, a third-person Call of Duty game with a focus on melee combat that was in development at Vicarious Visions.
In recent years, one of the chief complaints aimed at the Call of Duty franchise has been its reluctance to move away from futuristic, science-fiction settings. However, back in 2008, Activision was willing to experiment with the Call of Duty brand, and it called upon the studios under its publishing umbrella to come up with unique pitches for new games in the series. Vicarious Visions threw its hat in the ring, creating a full level for an unreleased game called Call of Duty: Roman Wars.
Had Activision decided to move forward with the title, Call of Duty: Roman Wars would have been set during the height of Julius Caesar’s reign over the Roman Empire. Due to its time period, Call of Duty: Roman Wars would have been missing guns, though players could still use ranged weapons by firing arrows at their enemies. Needless to say, the combat in Roman Wars would have been almost entirely melee-focused, which is a drastic departure from the Call of Duty norm.
Players also had access to other era-specific tools of war, such as catapults that would have been used to kill large groups of enemies at once, functioning similarly to mortars in other Call of Duty games. Roman Wars also had a tank equivalent, with players having the option to ride elephants into battle.
Melee combat and elephants aside, perhaps the biggest change that Roman Wars would have made to the standard Call of Duty formula was its switch to a third-person perspective. Other developers have also experimented with third-person Call of Duty, so it’s interesting that studios keep coming back to that idea – and maybe one day a third-person Call of Duty game will actually materialize.
Third-person Call of Duty seems unlikely, though, as its third-person perspective is part of the reason why Activision passed on Roman Wars. That, coupled with its time period and melee combat, made Activision think the game wasn’t enough like other Call of Duty titles, and so the project was cancelled. Sledgehammer Games was told to start work on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare instead, and Vicarious Visions was regulated to Skylanders and Guitar Hero duty.
With a new Call of Duty game releasing every year since 2005, it would have been nice to see an experimental game in the series like Roman Wars to help keep things fresh. While it’s had some outlandish features like Zombies Mode, Activision has mostly played it safe with Call of Duty, and seems unwilling to take any major risks with franchise at this point. Unless there’s significant fan demand, the franchise’s publisher probably won’t consider reviving Call of Duty: Roman Wars, so in the meantime, fans will just have to keep their fingers crossed that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare doesn’t feel like a retread.
Call of Duty: Roman Wars was in development for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, with PS4 and Xbox One ports under consideration as well.