(Pocket-lint) – There are certain fixtures you can rely on in the gaming calendar, releases that come around like clockwork, and a regular Call of Duty release is absolutely one of the most predictable. It’s a series that has put out roughly a game per year for absolute aeons now, and with Black Ops Cold War firmly out there now, it’s time to start looking forward to what’s next.
Rumours and details are starting to circulate around what we can expect from 2021’s Call of Duty, so we’ve gathered all the information you need right here. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
COD Vanguard release date
As already discussed, Call of Duty games don’t tend to work on particularly flexible release timings – you can generally expect one to come out in Autumn each year, and it looks like 2021 should be no different on that front.
Activision has finally confirmed that the next game’s main developer is Sledgehammer Games, which previously created Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and World War II, both relatively solidly received entries in the series. In fact, it would seem that Sledgehammer was actually initially targetting 2020 for its game, but that it slipped to 2021, and Treyarch stepped in to finish off Black Ops Cold War instead.
Hence, makes a lot of sense for Sledgehammer’s game to be polished off for this year, as Activision has indicated it will be. The development situation for Call of Duty is a bit of a maze nowadays, with at least four major studios all attached to the franchise – Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software, all under Activision’s ownership umbrella, so it could also be that there’s a fair amount of collaboration going on.
We’re so excited to be leading the charge on @CallofDuty this year and can’t wait to share more. https://t.co/pMuaFybT1r
— Sledgehammer Games (@SHGames) May 4, 2021
Sadly, some leakers have also been taking the chance to get warnings in that they’ve heard the game isn’t in the best of states. This is all entirely uncorroborated, but some have even said it’s a “disaster”, which is pretty strong. We’re hopefuly this won’t turn out to be accurate!
COD Vanguard platforms
When it comes to platforms, Black Ops Cold War can again be a firm guide for what to expect from 2021’s Call of Duty – it’ll be on a heck of a lot of platforms, basically. Next-generation consoles will be approaching their first anniversary when the game releases, so you can expect them to fly the flag for more graphically intensive and smooth-running gameplay.
Activision said as much in a recent earnings call, confirming that the game is being “built for next-gen”, across all game modes, which should mean for better visuals.
However, there will still be tens of millions of players who are on the PS4 or Xbox One, so the game will absolutely come out on those platforms as well, and we’d expect there to be cross-platform and cross-generational multiplayer, just like Cold War offers.
Whether an extra year in the oven can see the next COD push its graphics further than Cold War will remain to be seen, of course, but we’re hoping for 4K action and ray tracing to make sure everything looks its very best.
COD 2021 gameplay
Here’s where things might be a little harder to predict than you might think – while there are a few things we can be certain of when it comes to a COD game, there are still some real variables.
What we can rely on is that it’ll be a first-person shooter with quick time-to-kill and twitchy gameplay and that it’ll come with a relatively short but bombastic campaign, alongside a chunky multiplayer component. That multiplayer will have various team modes across different objective styles, and use both new maps and eventually a selection of remastered classics.
The above is true of pretty much every COD game, but when you look at Sledgehammer’s previous games you can see some variety – in particular when it comes to player movement. Advanced Warfare featured possibly the most in-depth and radical movement in any COD game to date, with double jumps, boosting, and more allowing for truly vertical tactics.
That has since been rolled back as players were divided by where it took the series, but it’s entirely possible we’ll see another such departure from the norm. Equally, the WWII route would see us get another down-the-line COD with limited movement that’s more reliant on aim than traversal.
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We’ll be able to get more of a sense of what to expect gameplay-wise as more information trickles out ahead of the game’s release.
Another open question is how the new game will integrate with Call of Duty: Warzone, which has smashed expectations to gain nearly 100 million players already. The integration with Cold War in December 2020 was more than a little clumsy and bug-ridden, but new reports indicate that it’ll be smoother for Vanguard, including a day-and-date release of a new map for the huge battle royale game.
COD Vanguard story and title
On the story front, what we said about player movement is instructive – Sledgehammer has created two CODs on its own so far, working as support on others, and they’re drastically different from each other: Advanced Warfare and World War II. The safe money has long been on one of those franchises getting a sequel.
The latest indication on this front is that the series will be returning to more vintage gameplay – ModernWarzone reported that its sources indicate the game will be called Call of Duty WWII: Vanguard and that title has been confirmed by multiple other reporters in recent times. Whether that ends up being the final title, it sure sounds like WWII is the most likely setting of those on the table.
The game will apparently have both multiplayer and singleplayer elements, and will also bring zombies to the table despite not being a Treyarch game, which is a fairly interesting development.
What setting the game has is likely to be the biggest variable for both its gameplay and story, in terms of tone and plot, so it’ll be interesting to see if this is all confirmed. When we get more of a sense for this, we’ll be able to start drawing conclusions about what shape its story might take.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.