As reported by Jason Schreier at Bloomberg, next year’s Call of Duty game developed by Treyarch will be delayed until 2024. This sort of news has been long awaited for the Call of Duty franchise, and it’s most certainly going to be a benefit for the players and developers alike.
It’s no secret that over the last few years, Call of Duty games have taken a turn for the worst. The quality of the games has declined massively due to crunch that is put onto the developers to get a new title out each year. In recent years, stories about workplace crunch has garnered a lot of attention all over the internet, where game developers are working 100 hour work weeks to try and get a game ready to ship – this is been happening in the Call of Duty franchise for years. Whether it’s developers from Treyarch, Infinity Ward or Sledgehammer games, they all have to work in a relatively short period of time to develop a Call of Duty game before they move on the next project.
Last year’s Call of Duty: Vanguard was released way too early. Vanguard launched with countless annoying bugs, a lacklustre zombies mode and a mediocre campaign. The decrease in quality certainly showed in the sales of the game, as Vanguard was the worst selling Call of Duty title in the UK in 14 years. The main issue with Call of Duty today is Activision will release a game with little to no content, and then it takes the entire year (the lifecycle of the game) to add new updates to bring the title to where it should have been on launch. It honestly feels like Call of Duty fans are beta testing the game for Activision and the developers, before it’s fully completed a whole year after launch.
By delaying 2023’s Call of Duty title, Treyarch will now have a total of 4 years to develop their next game. This extra year will certainly be beneficial, and it should give Treyarch more time to polish certain aspects of the game like new multiplayer game modes and maps. Not only that, workplace morale and mental health of workers may also improve as they should have a better work-life balance. No one wants their job to feel like a chore, and I could bet that’s what most in the studio feel like their job has become. Previously, developers of Call of Duty only had 3 years to make their games before Activision would force them to release it just in time for the holiday season. It clearly wasn’t enough time, especially with how big triple A video games are getting nowadays.
Franchise fatigue is another massive problem for Call of Duty, and releasing a new game every single year means developers lose their passion to make a great game. If developers do not get the breathing room to come up with fresh ideas, the series just becomes stagnant, and it cannot innovate. How many times have we had a different Black Ops game? Or how many times in the last few years have we had a World War 2 themed Call of Duty game that no one really wants?
Releasing these types of copy-and-paste games every year will ultimately kill the franchise. Call of Duty players don’t want the same played out ideas, they want a brand-new experience, with fresh ideas that make the game fun and enjoyable to play – like what made Call of Duty great all those years ago. If Activision actually let their development studios innovate, they may even see a boost in sales too – and we all know Activision loves money.
It’s obvious that the franchise will never go back to its glory days of the Modern Warfare 2 or Black Ops 1 era, but we still hold out for that new great Call of Duty game that will make us fall in love with the franchise all over again. Maybe 2024 will finally be the year to do it?
This year’s Call of Duty title is rumoured to be Modern Warfare 2, a sequel to Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare (2019). This should hopefully be the last game in the franchise to have a 3-year development cycle, and we should slowly start to see the much needed improvements fans have been hoping for in future releases. Only time will tell though.