It’s springtime, which means the world is becoming green, flowers are blooming (in the real world and Verdansk), and a whole wealth of Call of Duty leaks and rumors are coming down the pipe as we start our approach towards the yearly premium release. The latest Call of Duty 2021 rumors are reportedly calling the game a “disaster” and some unconfirmed leaks even purport that it will be replaced altogether with the release of Modern Warfare 2 Remastered multiplayer.
Let’s be clear, these rumors should be taken with an enormous grain of salt. I’m talking “head over to the Salt Mines in Verdansk 84 and start stocking up” grain of salt because it’s about to be a bumpy ride of miscontextualized and most likely outright incorrect information. And with Activision confirming the marketing cycle for premium Call of Duty releases to now happen later in the year, thanks to Warzone, it could be a few months before we get to bear the veracity of what assorted insiders and leakers are saying.
Call of Duty 2021 is Most Likely Call of Duty WWII Vanguard
Let’s get the most reliable leak out of the way first. Most insiders have agreed on the fact that Call of Duty 2021 is Sledgehammer’s Call of Duty WWII Vanguard. After being bumped from the 2020 slot in the three-year cycle (most likely to position the Black Ops franchise as the first “next-gen” Call of Duty game), it looks like Sledgehammer will take over the 2021 spot. WWII Vanguard was first reported back in March and its title seems to be holding steady amongst various insiders as talk of this year’s game occurs.
Beyond the name and the developer, this is where things to to get a little bit more shaky. Noted Call of Duty insider and leaker Tom Henderson has posted numerous references over the last month to WWII Vanguard basically being a “disaster.” Or more accurately, he said a “fucking disaster.” He’s also compared it to a drawing of literal crap, and said that if there is any year for Activision to break its yearly premium release cycle, this would be the one to do it.
Vanguard… To put it simply, is a fucking disaster.
But more on that at a later time. https://t.co/YBgK69IPh6
— Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) April 7, 2021
He’s also claimed that the last-gen consoles are holding back WWII Vanguard “so bad.” While it may be the case the going exclusively next-gen would be a big win for the game’s tech, however, the install base—particularly for premium Call of Duty titles—doesn’t support abandoning the older consoles just yet. There were three years of cross-gen releases on PS3/PS4 before we got our first PS4-generation-only Call of Duty. Remember that insiders and leaks often provide a very limited view and perspective on the information they disseminate, and lots can change in a short period of time. So once again, up that sodium intake until we hear more official details, which most likely won’t come for a few months, at least.
Will Call of Duty WWII Vanguard be Delayed, Cancelled, or Replaced?
Before we dive into this next rumor, let’s be clear that Activision is insistent that a premium Call of Duty game will release this year, as sure a thing as death and taxes. A new leak, however, is claiming that Call of Duty 2021 is either delayed or outright cancelled, replaced instead by Modern Warfare 2 Remastered multiplayer to fill the void.
COD 2021 POSSIBLY CANCELLED
I tweeted about this yesterday, but took it down, as I didn’t have 100% proof, now I do.
SHG might be back to being a “Support Studio”.
It also says “MW2 MPR will release this fall” with “MW/WZ/CW content continuing throughout 2022”!
— Zesty – News & Leaks (@ZestyCODLeaks) April 27, 2021
However, this leak doesn’t appear to have the typical vetting of other industry insiders and leakers, and Charlie Intel says that this is unverified and “made up.”
A lot of rumors going around about Call of Duty 2021 last few days based off of a 4Chan post. The user who posted said he “made up” his info and “didn’t expect” people to believe him.
This is the only rumor that has been vetted by many sources. https://t.co/SJftsTvDqF
— Call of Duty News (@charlieINTEL) April 27, 2021
Some insiders claim that a DMCA from Activision for the “leaked” information is prove of its veracity, but others point out that it doesn’t mean it’s all 100% true.
It would appear that the discord DMCA takedown from @thesoapkai is a legitimate takedown from Activision.
However, this does not confirm or deny anything. Activision has a tendency to issue DMCA’s falsely and IMO, we should have seen more DMCA’s issued to people covering it.
— Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) April 27, 2021
The Call of Duty development, marketing, and release cycle has been severely shaken up in the past few years, thanks in part to shuffling the established three year/three dev cycle by slotting Treyarch’s Black Ops Cold War in last year and the release and enormous success of the free-to-play Warzone component, which helps boost the usual Q2/Q3 lull for the franchise. It’s also been changed by the new Battle Pass system, which gives players added content updates for free throughout the year and keeps the player base more connected than the previous strategy of separate map packs.
When Modern Warfare 2 Remastered Campaign dropped, it didn’t include a remastered version of the game’s multiplayer to maintain strong multiplayer communities for the existing Call of Duty games; a “seamless multiplayer playground.” In fact, that was the justification behind moving away from segmented map packs and into a more unified Battle Pass system where new content releases to all players free. (That’s also been an enormous success for the Call of Duty brand as a whole.) So it makes sense not to want to do something that might fragment the player base.
However, rumors have persisted that Modern Warfare 2 Remastered Multiplayer development is underway, with some saying it’s effectively a card that Activision can play at any time to give the franchise a shot in the arm, should it be needed. With the rumors that WWII Vanguard is “a disaster,” it appears that some are putting these two details together as something that’s more wishful thinking than credible insider information.
Call of Duty leaks and rumors are the inevitable result of the rabid fanbase and massive development cycles on strict timelines for one of the largest gaming franchises in the world. Most often these snippets of information are presented out out of context, and even if they are at least in part correct, they end up missing the mark. Some can even end up ruining what would have otherwise been fun and engaging reveals or events.
What Do We Know Officially About Call of Duty 2021?
For now, the only official information we know about Call of Duty 2021 is that it’s coming. Activision has confirmed a premium Call of Duty release for this year, as well as hinting that the reveal and marketing cycle for it will take place later in the year than usual (expected to mimic last year’s Black Ops Cold War reveal that kicked off in August instead of the usual April/May). While insiders seem pretty certain on the name and dev behind the game this year, Activision nor Sledgehammer have offered any confirmation.
We also know from financial calls that Activision’s sales projections for Call of Duty 2021 aren’t expected to meet the recent surge of success the franchise has seen, though that’s presumed to be because Modern Warfare and Black Ops are the franchise’s tentpole sub-series, and what’s coming will most likely fall outside of those two. Call of Duty has undoubtedly had its ups and downs through the years, and following up on the enormous success of Modern Warfare 2019, Black Ops Cold War, and Warzone isn’t going to be an easy feat.
Regardless, remember to take any leaks and rumors with a grain of salt. What you are reading may be missing a lot of key context, or may even be outright incorrect. Until we get official confirmations and reveals from Activision, nothing is official and everything is subject to change.