Activision Blizzard has confirmed the rumours that Call of Duty is moving away from its long-established annual release schedule – but there’s a catch.
Earlier this week, the developer announced all of its US-based QA testers would become full-time employees. As part of that announcement, the company took the opportunity to highlight a major shift in how it’s planning to handle the future of Call of Duty games.
“During the last two years, Call of Duty has expanded and evolved,” the company said in its statement. “Our development cycles have gone from an annual release to an ‘always won’ model. In response to greater engagement, we’ve increased our live services business across all platforms.”
It’s actually been rumoured for a while now that Call of Duty is doing away with the annual release schedule. For the last 10 years or so, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer Games have shared a three-year development cycle, with each developer taking turns releasing a game.
Studios like Beenox, Raven Software, and Toys For Bob have also lent a hand to these titles, with the latter developing the Spyro Reignited Trilogy before claims surfaced that the developer was being forced to work on Call Of Duty games exclusively. However, a spokesperson for Activision refuted those claims.
This schedule has been a point of contention for a while now, with many critics saying that releasing a new Call Of Duty game every year might not be the best move with regard to quality. It’s also been rumoured—but not yet confirmed—that 2023 will be the first year without a brand-new game in the series.
Instead, Activision is expected to focus on new modes of the existing games and provide extended support for this year’s instalment from Infinity Ward. The wording of Activision’s statement seems to suggest this is the company’s new approach.
With the constant updates and new content modern Call Of Duty games tend to receive, this all seems to be in line with the recent job listing hinting at a live service future for the franchise.