E3 Week’s best tradition continues in 2021: Activision’s next Call of Duty game has been leaked ahead of an official announcement. The new game, whose development is being led by Sledgehammer Games, is called Call of Duty: Vanguard and will be set during World War II, marking the first time the franchise has been back to that era since 2017. Every single internal studio within Activision is said to be working on the game to get it out in time for the holidays.
The report comes from VGC, which has also confirmed that the game is currently on schedule to release on current and last-gen consoles, as well as PC, in November. Unsurprisingly, Vanguard players can expect a campaign, multiplayer, and a Zombies mode “set in the European and Pacific theatres of World War II.” The story revolves around “the birth of modern allied Special Forces,” according to the outlet.
The change in era also means big changes are coming to Warzone battle royale. VGC says that the standalone battle royale mode will “officially transition to a World War II setting” when Vanguard releases. What does this mean, exactly? A whole new map set in the Pacific theatre, according to VGC, which describes the new setting as “significantly larger than Warzone‘s current Verdansk environment.” It also reportedly feature new vehicles that can take better advantage of the bigger map. Could this mean tanks are coming to Warzone?
The report didn’t reveal anything about what weapons or operators players can expect at launch, but those sound like details that will be announced during a special reveal event Activision is planning in lieu of an E3 2021 presentation. Meanwhile, the publisher is set to unveil what’s coming in Warzone Season 4 — which is rumored to be out on June 16 — during Summer Game Fest 2021 this week.
There’s a lot to unpack here, of course, particularly the sharp change in setting, which would effectively move Call of Duty away from the more contemporary settings that have brought the series a lot of success over the last two years. 2019’s Modern Warfare completely changed the trajectory of the series at a time when it seemed the annual shooter franchise was finally losing steam, while last year’s Black Ops Cold War was just different enough to continue to build on that foundation while not changing too much about what made its predecessor great (although some players would disagree).
World War II is decidedly different — less science fiction, purely historical. Not that Call of Duty hasn’t found success in the historical arena in the past. The entire franchise was born during a golden age of WWII shooters in the late ’90s and early 00’s. It could nail the setting, although its 2017 effort was viewed by some as underwhelming.
The stark difference between WWII and modern warfare will be particularly noticeable in the fast-paced Warzone mode, whose iterations have so far only highlighted modern weapons, tactics, and settings. It’ll be very interesting to see how going back to the 1940s changes the Call of Duty battle royale experience.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more!