The next Treyarch Call of Duty title is being delayed outside of 2023, effectively straying from Activision’s annual release model, according to a report from Bloomberg. The decision comes as a result of underperforming returns from presumably the most recent franchise entry, Call of Duty: Vanguard. Some executives fear the diminished performance can be attributed to too many new iterations arriving too rapidly. While they may be right, if Call of Duty skips 2023, it will be a shocking move that breaks Activision’s almost 20-year streak of annual franchise entries.
Other projects are reportedly being lined up to fill the gap it leaves, including an unnamed free-to-play online game created in part by Treyarch. Activision is also planning to continue supporting this year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare sequel with additional content throughout next year.
The news comes after Activision was purchased by Microsoft for nearly $70 billion last month. However, the report states that the purchase by Microsoft did not influence the decision to delay Call of Duty from 2023. And with the acquisition deal not set to go through until 2023, Activision remains independent from Microsoft. How the mega-corporation will handle gaming’s biggest military first-person shooter franchise remains to be seen for now.
Call of Duty got its start in the early 2000s but didn’t evolve into the beast it is today until Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare released in 2007. Big-budget launches have found their way to store shelves every year without fail since, with last year’s Call of Duty: Vanguard being the latest example. Off-shoot entries such as Activision’s battle royale, Call of Duty: Warzone, have appeared through the years as well, and Warzone has been especially popular.
There’s no telling how a Call of Duty-less 2023 will pan out. That said, the extra time will almost certainly allow Treyarch more time to work without pressure while ensuring the franchise gets one of its most polished releases yet.