Late last week a rumor surfaced that suggested the next entry in the Call of Duty franchise – the first current-gen offering from Black Ops developer Treyarch – would be a sequel to World at War. An admittedly makeshift poster only supported the rumor in question, but the prospect of a new World at War had some Call of Duty fans excited.
At the same time, given Call of Duty’s trajectory away from older time periods and into the far-flung future, some were disappointed by the rumor. They saw a potential World War 2 game as a step backward for a franchise that had, just last year, got some of its traction back.
So, while the World at War 2 rumor might be a fabrication, it’s worth examining the possibility of returning to World War 2. Could Call of Duty find new life by going back to its roots?
Many Call of Duty fans will likely answer that question in different ways. Some will assuredly welcome the change of time period, and see it has a cool blast from the past. World War 2 used to be Call of Duty’s bread and butter – a perfect opportunity to inject gravitas into blockbuster style set pieces. And if a new game were to return to the time period, it would be cool to see how lessons learned while working in a modern setting could influence a return to the past.
However, others will likely see the change as a momentum killer, a stark departure from the path that has reinvigorated a lot of jaded fans. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was viewed as a success by critics and fans due in large part to its setting, which in turn afforded more freedom in gunplay and mechanics. Some would even argue that the Exo Suit helped breathe new life into Call of Duty’s multiplayer, and going back so soon would be a huge mistake.
Both sides have interesting points to make, but for my money the franchise should ride this future wave for a bit longer. Most didn't expect much from Sledgehammer Games’ first Call of Duty effort, but somehow that new perspective was exactly what Call of Duty needed and made it a top seller for 2014. They also put an unexpected pressure on Treyarch to make sure that the momentum built by Advanced Warfare isn’t lost.
Even if the game is titled World at War 2, though, that doesn’t mean the game won’t feature a near-future or future setting. Maybe Activision just likes franchise buzzwords and considers World at War a known brand.
How would you feel about Call of Duty returning to World War 2? What do you hope to see from the next Call of Duty?