Call of Duty 2020 to be led by Treyarch amid reports of tension between Raven and SledgehammerPlatforms: Sony PlayStation 4 | Sony PlayStation 5 | Microsoft Xbox One | PC
Activision has moved to place Treyarch as the lead development studio on next year's Call of Duty, following reports of tension between Raven Software and Sledgehammer Games, the previous lead development studios on next year's entry in the juggernaut franchise.
The report by Kotaku reveals that three people close to the development teams involved have told of new plans to release the fifth Call of Duty: Black Ops game in 2020. Previous leads, Raven and Sledgehammer, will revert to being support studios, while Treyarch takes over lead development. The staff at Raven and Sledgehammer have reportedly "argued frequently" during the past year of development, with two people involved referring to the project as "a mess".
Kotaku's report indicates that the Raven and Sledgehammer game was to be set during the Cold War, and the single-player story campaign they had been working on will be remixed into a campaign for Black Ops 5. 2018's Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was the first entry in the series lacking a single-player campaign, but that approach appears to have been abandoned for the game's sequel.
Treyarch will be under time pressure to deliver a new Black Ops game next year, having had their development cycle reduced to two years from three. The report suggests that some at the company are "already bracing for brutal overtime hours like they faced last year on Black Ops 4". Apparently others are excited about the change-up, due to a "solid game plan" for Black Ops 5.
Activision are additionally looking into a free-to-play component for this year's all but confirmed Infinity Ward developed, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4, the report suggests. This change of tactic comes as Activision are disappointed by the money-making longevity of Black Ops 4, despite the game selling incredibly well at launch. Whether this means that Modern Warfare 4's battle royale mode (assuming it has one) will be Fortnite-style free-to-play, we'll have to to wait and see.