Ahead of today’s Call of Duty: WWII reveal, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg sat down with Polygon, where he said last year’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare may not have been the right game at the right time:
I think it’s a really good game. I think it can be simultaneously true that it was a really high quality game that Infinity Ward did a really terrific job with and the game was delivered at a very high level, creatively — and that it might have been the wrong game at the wrong moment in terms of getting that rhythm right with the audience and with the culture.
With the three-year development cycle for the Call of Duty franchise, Hirshberg notes that the advantages are clear – “there’s more time to innovate, there’s more time to polish, there’s more time to iterate, there’s more time for all the things that gamers care most about development teams having” – but at the same time, “it increases the degree of difficulty, to an extent, getting that balancing act [between consistency and freshness] right. The good news is we’ve gotten it right more often than not and more often than most. But I think, in the case of last year, I think both things were true.”
This year’s Call of Duty is returning to World War II, and Hirshberg commented on how they decided the audience was ready to go back to that time period:
Well I certainly can’t comment on any influences that might have an impact on our competitors, I can speak for us and you know I totally acknowledge that these things do seem to happen in waves like this. I mean three years ago when we dreamed up this game and decided it was time to go back to our roots, we could not have known at that time that the year we would launch it would be a year in which there would be several World War II movies in the theaters and that there would be other competitors going back to historical settings.
Returning to the notion of getting that balance right, Hirshberg said, “I think this is one of those years where it feels like the right game at the right time being made by the right team.”
The Call of Duty: WWII reveal begins at 10am PT/1pm ET.