Infinity Ward's far from out, but it's certainly down a number of very important people – including former bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella. Under normal circumstances, that'd mean huffing, puffing, and delaying the game out of 2011 while everyone regroups, but this is Call of Duty we're talking about. Activision's precious lifeblood. Its bread and butter. And so, according to a report by the LA Times, the CODependant publisher's brought in a couple fresh faces to pick up the slack.
First up, there's Sledgehammer Games, who's been quietly hammering away at its own Call of Duty spin-off for quite a while. Apparently, that game will be put on the backburner while the developer lends a hand on Modern Warfare 3. As a result, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer are said to be “working closely” on Modern Warfare 3's single-player campaign -- which may or may not star a certain not-so-friendly Ghost.
Meanwhile, Raven Software – developer of 2009's Wolfenstein reboot and recent time-bender Singularity, among many others – is heading up the multiplayer half of the operation.
For now, Activision's opted to neither confirm nor deny any of it, but has said that it hopes to announce further details in the “near future.”
If it is true, though, it's certainly not Activision's finest moment. The whole thing reeks of frightened desperation, serving as a cautionary tale about what happens when you put all your golden eggs in one brittle basket. Call of Duty's certainly a phenomenon, but it won't stay that way forever. If Activision has so little faith in its other franchises that Call of Duty can't be allowed to miss even a single beat, then things are going to get pretty darn ugly when gamers start moving on and the franchise loses its record-breaking sheen.
Pick your battles? What does that even mean? Raven Software certainly doesn’t seem to know, as it’s challenged EA’s Madden football franchise to a popularity contest. And let’s be honest here: While Wolf may be a big dog among hardcore gamers, Madden traditionally ranks as one of the top five best-selling games each and every year. If Wolfenstein does manage to pull off an upset, though, the spoils of war will be great, and – even better – Raven plans on spreading the wealth.
See, Raven Software designer Manveer Heir claims that, if Wolfenstein outsells Madden 10 in August and you’re following him on Twitter, he’ll personally pay you back the money you spent on his game. Will Wolfenstein actually score an underdog victory? Almost certainly not – but Manveer’s bold proclamation is easily one of the most interesting “marketing” techniques we’ve ever seen.
And hey, if you were struggling to decide which of the two August releases would pocket your hard-earned money, just look at it this way: If you help Wolfenstein outsell Madden, you can then use your newly refunded cash to nab Madden. So get to it, people! At the cost of one overly daring man’s livelihood, we can get two games for the price of one! Everybody (except Mr. Heir) wins!
We just got our hands on some gritty new screenshots from the next Wolfenstein game, which is being shown at this year's QuakeCon. Published by Activision and developed by Raven Software, Wolfenstein once again sends soldier BJ Blazkowicz to fight Nazis and supernatural demons in an alternate World War II. The screens show Nazi troops assembled in the dark, resistance fighters huddled in demolished buildings, and most interestingly, new map locations that have been transformed with a supernatural green tint of destruction. We don't know how these environmental shifts will occur, or how it ties with the story, but it sure looks cool!
Click through for our full gallery of full-resolution screens.