Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 31, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 31, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

 Call of Duty  shifts to 3-year dev cycle, 3 lead studios
Call of Duty shifts to 3-year dev cycle, 3 lead studios
February 6, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

In today's financial results call, the company announced that three studios will build the annualized series' games on three-year cycles across three sub-brands.

Up till now, Call of Duty games have been built primarily by two different studios in alternating years, allowing for two-year development cycles for each game. Historically, Treyarch has built the Black Ops franchise, and Infinity Ward has built the Modern Warfare games.

On today's call, Activision announced that Ghosts joins those two franchises as a new "sub-brand" for the series, and that new Call of Duty games will be built on three-year development cycles. For 2014, Sledgehammer Games will lead development on the next Call of Duty title.

This means "more time to focus on DLC and micro-DLC," and "more time to polish," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg.

"Looking forward to 2014, as both Bobby [Kotick] and I have said, we have a superlative game in the works, and that we have some new approaches this year that we think are going to be very positive with the three-year development cycle -- with the injection of some new creative leadership from some very talented folks at Sledgehammer Games, and we think that the 2014 game is going to be one of, if not the best, Call of Duty game ever," Hirshberg said.

Related Jobs

Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States

Tools Programmer-Central Team
Vicarious Visions / Activision
Vicarious Visions / Activision — Albany, New York, United States

VFX Artist-Vicarious Visions
Magic Leap, Inc.
Magic Leap, Inc. — Wellington, New Zealand

Level Designer
Amazon — Seattle, Washington, United States

Sr. Software Development Engineer - Game Publishing


Zach Grant
profile image
How about a 3 year dev cycle and 1 studio. I guess they want to drive that franchise into the ground as well... if they haven't already.

James Yee
profile image
Yep lets keep beating this horse man.

Colin Schmied
profile image
They'll stop making 'em when people stop buying 'em.

Rob Wright
profile image
As a CoD fan and someone who 1) was hugely disappointed in Ghosts, and 2) greatly concerned about the dilution and potential decline of the franchise, I'm not wild about this. But I'm not sure how Activision as a business would be able to justify taking a year or two off from a Call of Duty release, considering Ghosts got weak reviews, sold much fewer units than Black Ops 2, and yet still generated $1 billion in 24 hours and also ended up as one of the top selling games of 2013 (second to only GTA V, if I'm reading the numbers correctly).

Eric Hauchecorne
profile image
Note that it didn't generated $1 billion in 24 hours, but shipping $1 billion worth of game on day one. GTAV still hold the record with $1 billion in 3 days.

They probably reached $1 billion by now but I don't in how long but I read that it tool longer than the previous one making a game industry record with 14 days (broke since with GTAV)

Christian Nutt
profile image
@Rob, I think you're misinterpreting what's happening here (sorry if it isn't clear.) There are going to be three brands, each of which gets three years in development, and then launches successively. So instead of two COD franchises with two year dev cycles, we'll have three COD franchises with three-year dev cycles -- no time off.

Rob Wright
profile image

No, I got it, you were perfectly clear. I was talking hypothetically about taking a year off, in response to James post about beating a dead horse. Yes, they're beating the horse, and yes, even I (a massive CoD fanboy) have hit the fatigue point, but if Activision continues to generate these kinds of sales numbers and revenue, why *wouldn't* they do annualized releases?

Kyle Jansen
profile image
Micro-DLC? Is that what they're trying to call micropayments now?

Ujn Hunter
profile image
Please insert coin to continue...

Biff Johnson
profile image
At least that's good for the devs. They won't be running at break neck speed 24/7.

Rob Wright
profile image
Agreed. Considering that before Black Ops 1, Treyarch never had longer than a 12 month dev cycle for ANY of its games (CoD 3, World at War, Spider-man, Bond, etc.) I'd say upping it to three years is a vast improvement.

Phil Maxey
profile image
Best CODS, MW2, Black ops, MW3, Blackops 2, Ghosts.

Mostly it's down to map design, which has gotten more and more convoluted as time has gone on leading to people camping more which kills the games fun, on top of that there haven't been any real innovations, other than tinkering with how the guns/equipment is set up.

COD can survive but they really need to push the envelope with any new version.

Matthew Mouras
profile image
I understand all the discontent, but I think Ghosts is a better game than the reviews would indicate. There's just an awful lot of fatigue out there with the franchise.

I took three years off from CoD games before I picked up Ghosts and I'm having fun with it, though it doesn't feel measurably different from my previous experiences with the games. I was just looking to have CoD-style fun again and it fit the bill. They certainly need some successful innovations to the formula. If other consumers feel as burned out now as I did three years ago and it takes them until the CoD yearly release in 2016 to jump back into the franchise, then I don't think this decision to rotate dev teams is going to help sales.

David Queener
profile image
The idea of CoD fatigue suggests that Ghosts' failings come from people tiring of CoD, rather than not enjoying some aspect of Ghosts. Following various CoD community members, I have noticed that those who didn't take to Ghosts, are still playing previous releases. They aren't tired of CoD, but rather have particular expectations and did not feel that Ghosts met those. Three companies engaging in a three year cycle means more time to polish and balance, and three different teams making their own attempts.

If this were an attempt to milk, they wouldn't be giving more devs more time. As far as a dead horse, people would be moving outside of the franchise more, rather than returning to previous iterations and waiting for the next. This is good news for everyone involved. They weren't going to stop making CoD games any time soon. Players, non-fans, and the developers benefit from more time, more opportunity, and different minds.

At the very least, let us be happy for Sledgehammer getting a swing at contributing in a big way to such a major IP.