Activision CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed during the publisher’s Q3 2013 that a new Call of Duty title and Skylanders title will be coming next year. It’s unknown at this point who is developing the next instalment of the immensely popular Call of Duty franchise. Rumours have been going round that suggest Sledgehammer is working on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4.
“Despite short-term uncertainties, as we look forward to 2014, we have a very strong product pipeline. We expect multiple new releases across our major franchises, including the first Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls, along with the PS4 version of Diablo III and significant and exciting new content for World of Warcraft. We also expect to launch new Call of Duty and Skylanders titles and a major new potential franchise with Bungie’s Destiny.”
Former Infinity Ward artist Justin Thomas, who also worked on Medal of Honour: Allied Assault, has told MCV that the popular first person shooter was originally called Medal of Honour killer. Thomas said that the Call of Duty team were devoted to making a better experience than EA’s Medal of Honour offered to consumers. Clearly it would appear that they surpassed their goal, as Call of Duty is now one of gaming’s biggest franchises.
“The project was actually named ‘MOH killer’ until an official name could be found. We were focused more on fun than success, with the idea that if it was fun, it would be successful. We were just going to make a great game, and do the things better than we did on previous projects. The great thing is that a team learns from previous projects.”
The official Call of Duty: Ghosts launch trailer is finally here after the trailer was leaked and quickly taken down by Activision. Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outmatched. Call of Duty: Ghosts takes players to a world altered by a devastating mass event. Following an elite squad of soldiers known as the “Ghosts,” lead the fight back against a newly emerged global power. Call of Duty: Ghosts arrives on November 5th for Wii U, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Activision UK senior brand manager Kevin Flynn has told MCV that the development team is confident that it will reclaim the sales record back from Grand Theft Auto V with the Call of Duty franchise. Grand Theft Auto V smashed Call of Duty’s record for the biggest video game launch ever when it released last month. Activision revealed that last year’s Black Ops II has now surpassed 3m units sold in the UK.
“Congratulations to the team at Rockstar for their success. We look forward to getting the record back before the next GTA title. We know that our unaided awareness for Ghosts is leading the way against other unreleased triple-A titles. Our digital content has proven extremely popular and Black Ops II has sold more than 3m units in the UK.”
Activision has just posted a brand new Call of Duty: Ghosts trailer which focusses on Clans in the latest game in the popular franchise. Check out how Clans is an integral part of the Call of Duty: Ghosts’ multiplayer experience. This year introduces new breakthroughs, including the Call of Duty Clan Wars game experience, and cross-platform Clans — where players can now join a Clan with friends regardless of whether they play on Xbox, PlayStation or Windows PC, and level-up their Clan to earn exclusive unlocks and multiplayer XP bonuses.
Call of Duty Ghosts executive producer Mark Rubin has revealed on Twitter that all platforms will benefit from dedicated servers on the next instalment of the Call of Duty franchise. It was previously said that only the Xbox One version would support dedicated servers for online multiplayer, but now it appears that dedicated servers will be used on current-gen and next-gen consoles with Call of Duty: Ghosts.
“I wanted to give a quick update on some of the work that has been done to improve everyone’s online experience. We’ve already mentioned dedicated servers as part of the overall plan to improve connectivity. Dedicated servers will be used on current gen, next gen and PC with Ghosts. And, in order to make sure that people have the best possible experience regardless of platform, location or connection, Ghosts will be using a hybrid system of dedicated servers and listen servers. So no matter where you are the game will always be trying to give you the best online performance possible. There is also some great new tech in the matchmaking system that will place players in matches that have the best combined overall connectivity performance. Again these are just some of the things that are going into Call of Duty: Ghosts to give players a great online experience. Can’t wait to see you all online.”
Squads introduces a whole new level of competition to Call of Duty: Ghosts. Combining the unrivaled Multiplayer experience with cutting edge AI, Squads lets you play a variety of new game modes with your customized squad-mates. Play solo against another player and their squad, or cooperatively with friends, competing versus an AI-controlled squad. Best of all, the XP earned in Squads is directly connected to your Multiplayer progress.
In a new interview, Erich Hirshberg, Activision’s Publishing CEO, addresses a great deal of the online criticism that has been waged against his company. In response to accusations that Activision is a “heartless” big company with too much focus on Call of Duty, Hirshberg says he thinks that “all of the reputational perceptions out there…are incorrect.”
He also acknowledged that the company is often criticized for being “risk-averse” — putting too much of their weight behind sure-thing franchises like Call of Duty, rather than supporting indies and new IP’s. Hirshberg fired back by citing Skylanders as a new IP that “didn’t exist 18 months ago,” and that it is an example of “not only a new IP, but a new genre of play that was totally unproven.” The CEO, who recently stated that Activision would continue to support Wii U despite declining sales, even credited his company with making some of the most well liked games out there.
Do you think Activision deserves the criticism leveled against them, or are they making all the right moves? Here are some full comments made by Hirshberg in the interview:
“I think that we’ve been a little bit more experimental where it comes to mobile games thus far, but I also think that we are who we are as a company — and we’re a very focused company. Look, this is a company of passionate people who make games and love making games. I’m certainly aware of all of the reputational perceptions out there, but I think they’re incorrect and this is a company that has consistently made some of the most well liked and most played gaming experiences. And that hasn’t happened by accident.”
“Our strategy is to do a few things and do them exceptionally well. I think that sometimes people misperceive that as somehow being risk-averse, and yet we’re taking some of the biggest risks in new genres and new business models and new IPs than anybody….Skylanders is a brand that didn’t exist eighteen months ago — people forget that already because it’s been so successful. It was not only a new IP, but a new genre of play that was totally unproven.”
Call of Duty community manager Tina Palacios has revealed that Infinity Ward had decided it wasn’t going to develop another game in the Modern Warfare series once development of Modern Warfare 3 was wrapped up. The development team thought they needed a fresh start after the mass exodus suffered by the developer back in 2010.
“After Modern Warfare 3 ended, we already knew from the beginning that we didn’t want to do another one. There was no way we were going to do another one. We wanted to go in a new direction.”
“I feel like it’s not necessarily the game that gave us that sense [of a fresh start], it’s more of moving into a new studio. It’s a unique situation to be in for any studio because for us making Ghosts, not only are we putting our heart and soul into the game but we’re still really close friends with other developers. I think what we’re trying to do is create a game without anything else holding us back. We really just want to focus on creating an experience that’s new and fresh for us because ultimately if we don’t enjoy what we’re doing we’re not going to be there.
“So yeah, our main focus is just making sure that we ourselves would go home and play Ghosts without thinking of anything else on the side.”
Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin feels that games are now becoming harder to make and also more expensive to make as developers aim to produce AAA games which demand a much higher budget. Rubin says that consumers now want better graphics, they want more realistic looking art assets, and that all ultimately comes at a cost.
“It’s a scary thing, and I’ll take my Call of Duty hat off for a second here, but games are becoming harder to make and more expensive to make. And I feel like smaller studios are having trouble. I can’t speak for them, but I would think they are having trouble making big games that hit the big AAA market because they’re harder to do. People want better and better graphics, they want more realistic looking art assets, and that comes at a cost and that’s a hard thing to have to deal with.”