Next year’s annual Call of Duty will be a Black Ops title, with Treyarch taking the lead role in development, according to a new report based on sources familiar with the series’ development. Activision has taken developers Raven and Sledgehammer out of the lead development role and directed Treyarch to use existing work to develop a new title in the Black Ops series.
That’s according to a new report by Kotaku, which spoke with three anonymous sources with knowledge of what’s up at Activision. Raven and Sledgehammer had been working on next year’s Call of Duty title, which was to be set during the Cold War, with at least some of the game’s story set in Vietnam. Now, Sledgehammer and Raven will move into supporting roles for Treyarch, which will lead development on Black Ops 5. That game is also reportedly set in the Cold War.
That gives Treyarch just two years to pull together a finished title, rather than the normal three-year period Activision’s developer stable usually gets to build new Call of Duty titles. Since 2012, the publisher has had Treyarch, Sledgehammer, and Infinity Ward on a staggered cycle to release a Call of Duty game every year.
But according to Kotaku’s reporting, the partnership between Sledgehammer and Raven has not gone well, and staff from the two studios have argued frequently over the course of the development of next year’s Call of Duty.
Last year, Sledgehammer co-founders Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield left the studio, at first to take on “new executive duties” at Activision, but eventually leaving the company completely.
Kotaku’s sources say Black Ops 5 will convert the work already done on Call of Duty 2020’s single-player campaign into a Black Ops storyline, which may come as a welcome relief to players disappointed by the lack of a single-player campaign in last year’s Black Ops 4.