Call of Duty Might Ditch Yearly Schedule Eventually; Activision Blizzard Employees Cautiously Optimistic on Microsoft Deal

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Call of Duty has been on a yearly schedule since the third installment, which launched in 2006, only one year after Call of Duty 2. Ever since that time, it's been one of the very few certainties in the games industry: every new year would invariably feature another entry of the increasingly popular first-person shooter franchise, just like FIFA and other sports titles.

That might change in the future, though. A new Bloomberg report cites discussions at Activision Blizzard's high levels regarding the possibility to ditch the yearly schedule at last. This is seemingly unrelated to Microsoft's proposed acquisition of the company, by the way.

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Apparently, Call of Duty developers had already expressed their conviction that slowing the release schedule would be appealing to players while giving game designers the chance to take bolder risks during development. It could also lighten the workload, helping avoid excessive crunch, and opening up the opportunity to work on other Activision Blizzard IPs. That's something Microsoft's Head of Gaming Phil Spencer seemed very excited about in a recent interview, likely because it would further broaden the Game Pass portfolio.

This is, after all, the same road taken by Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed. When that franchise's popularity started to wane after pushing yearly installments for some time, Ubisoft was forced to let it rest for a few years. When it came back, it did so without resuming the previous yearly schedule. The new formula has proved successful thus far, as Assassin's Creed Valhalla, the latest entry in the franchise, eventually became the second-largest profit-generating game in the history of the publisher.

The change isn't expected to happen any time soon. 2022 will indeed deliver a new Call of Duty thanks to Infinity Ward, with rumors pointing to a sequel of 2019's Modern Warfare featuring an Escape from Tarkov-style mode in place of Zombies/Spec Ops. In other Call of Duty news, Phil Spencer confirmed yesterday that the franchise would remain on PlayStation platforms, though it is unclear yet which game he was referring to.

On that note, the Bloomberg report also mentions the first reactions of Activision Blizzard employees to the massive news that Microsoft plans to acquire the company for nearly $70 billion. The overall sentiment appears to be one of cautious optimism, as most are convinced Phil Spencer should prove a better and stronger leader than Bobby Kotick. They're also eager to experience a company that has so far proved to be more hands-off when it comes to actual game development, having learned from past mistakes. At the same time, some employees are understandably wary that the acquisition might lead to some layoffs, even though current Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told staff that Microsoft has committed to trying to retain as many as possible.

Products mentioned in this post

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