In 2003, game developer Infinity Ward and publisher Activision (now Activision Blizzard), released “Call of Duty”, a first-person shooter set in World War II that was seen to be the first serious clone of the “Medal of Honor” game series by Steven Spielberg and Electronic Arts. It was popular for its integrated story and wealth of supporting cast that appeared on battlefields with the player-controlled character, thus making him more part of a team rather than the solo attacker of past FPS titles. After two sequels the setting jumped into present times with “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” in 2007, and aside from a brief return in “COD5: World at War” (2008), the succeeding sequels were of a more contemporary bent, even taking place in the near and far future. But it looks like these settings have been losing some appeal, if judging from the announcement of the new “COD” title.
USA Today has it that Activision Blizzard has decided to revisit the original stomping grounds of their FPS franchise by teasing that their latest installment to the “Call of Duty” series is coming back to the battlefields of WWII. That much is obvious judging from the teaser image featuring the close-up of a muddied, bruised and bloodied soldier wearing the iconic M1 combat helmet of the time period. The only other piece of information in the image is word of a “worldwide reveal” for the new game scheduled on Wednesday April 26.
Just as the “Medal of Honor” series had popularized the WWI-setting for FPS games, one that Activision Blizzards “COD” had joined the bandwagon for, they had their own turn of setting the trend with “COD4: Modern Warfare”, set in the present day in the backdrop of a conflict in the Middle East and a coup in Russia, which then kick-started the contemporary and future settings for FPS games like in “Battlefield”. While that series, also by Electronic Arts, beat Activision Blizzard to the punch of going “retro” by setting “Battlefield 1” during World War I, the game makers don’t seem that far behind nevertheless.
Perhaps another reason for the setting change were reported lackluster sales figures for the preceding “COD” title “Infinite Warfare”, released in 2016 and set in the farthest future the franchise has ever been, even taking place in outer space. This shift according to Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl was too dramatic to resonate with their fan base.
The new WWII-set “Call of Duty” title will be developed by Sledgehammer Games, which worked on “Advanced Warfare” in 2014.
Photo courtesy of Business Insider