There’s no denying that the decision to bring Call of Duty back to WW2 was a good one. But with Sledgehammer Games at the helm, how close were we from getting a sequel to the studio’s 2014 offering, Advanced Warfare?
As it turns out, we were a lot closer to getting Advanced Warfare 2 than we probably could have ever imagined.
The announcement of Call of Duty: WWII brought with it a positive reception not seen for a Call of Duty game since probably the Modern Warfare days. Following the solid albeit unimpressive performance of last year’s Infinite Warfare, the fact Call of Duty was “returning to its roots” proved to be the right decision for the tiring franchise.
Sledgehammer could have easily returned to the world it built in 2014, and while Advanced Warfare 2 was on the table, the development team opted for a different challenge.
“We’ve adopted a process since the beginning where we actually will talk to the studio. Every game we do with Activision is a team vote,” Sledgehammer co-founder, Michael Condrey, said at yesterday’s 2017 GamesBeat Summit (via USGamer).
That process involves a simple vote, and in this case it was between Advanced Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: WWII.
“We were really proud of [Advanced Warfare],” Condrey said. “And [we had to ask ourselves]: Did we want to do a sequel, or did we want to return to the roots of the franchise?”
Interestingly, the vote wasn’t a majority, and the studio appeared split. Ultimately, however, it was the excitement of returning to World War 2 that won out, and based on gamer reactions, it proved to be the right choice.
“Having the opportunity to return Call of Duty to its roots was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up,” Condrey said.
Sledgehammer has worked on Call of Duty games dating back to 2011’s Modern Warfare 3. That game came about during a bitter dispute between Activision and Modern Warfare series developer, Infinity Ward.
Sledgehammer stepped in to bat and collaborate on the multiplayer offerings, and such was the success of the game that the studio formed part of Activision’s three-pronged approach to development.
Its first solo effort was 2014’s Advanced Warfare, which, despite receiving a similarly mixed response as last year’s Infinite Warfare, was still a nice blend of boots-on-the-ground gameplay and jet-pack boosting shenanigans.
Ironically, while Sledgehammer entered the fray just as the Call of Duty franchise appeared to “jump the shark”, as they say, the studio will now lead a new generation for the franchise, as it returns to the era that helped define the brand.