It’s not much of a surprise that another Call of Duty is coming this year. After all, a good majority of the last decade’s best selling games were Call of Duty titles, sprinkled with a dash of Rockstar here and there. Activision isn’t going to pass up the opportunity to release another game in the franchise in 2020, and the publisher confirmed that on today’s financial call. Activision did not, however, make note of which developer is working on Call of Duty 2020, a curious omission given that the current year’s developer has always been mentioned in past years’ calls.
Though this year is supposed to switch to Sledgehammer in the three-year development rotation, a Kotaku report last year says that development for Call of Duty 2020 was handed off to Treyarch, upsetting the cycle that’s been in place since Activision added Sledgehammer to the mix in 2014. Allegedly there was tension between Sledgehammer and Raven that left the whole project a mess, and Activision moved things over to Treyarch. That original Sledgehammer game was reportedly set in Vietnam during the Cold War. Though the game is now alleged to be Black Ops 5—or at least a fifth Black Ops title, if not titled with a 5— it seems that the ideas for a Cold War-era Call of Duty were salvaged from the wreckage of whatever Sledgehammer had been working on.
Sledgehammer co-founders Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield left Activision last year, taking a few other Sledgehammer devs with them. Whether this was cause and effect is unknown, though it seems suspect that studio turmoil and tension created the alleged problems that required development to shift over to Treyarch.
Is Treyarch Developing Call of Duty 2020?
Despite the Kotaku report, we still don’t know for certain if Treyarch is behind this year’s Call of Duty. Given Black Ops 4’s release in 2018 and the reported shift in development last year, that would put Call of Duty 2020 on an extremely short development schedule. This year’s Call of Duty will launch just ahead of next-gen platforms too. We don’t know how Activision plans to handle the cross-gen release. It’s possible next-gen release schedules could impact the Call of Duty 2020 release date as well. While October is often when Call of Duty releases, the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X could shift the launch strategy.
Activision used the financial call to at least say Call of Duty 2020 is “generating high interest internally” with internal playtests. “We feel great about the content.” Though confirmed, don’t expect to hear any more about Call of Duty 2020 for a few months. Activision doesn’t usually unveil the current year’s Call of Duty until around April or May.