In a new interview with Polygon, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg has spoken about the process to decide to take Call of Duty franchise back to its roots in 2017 with WWII.
Back in 2014, Activision executive team decided it would be time to take the franchise back to World War II era. Activision CEO says the decision for this was brought from the higher ups, but with also being open to developer’s input. Activision wanted Call of Duty to go back to its roots, either way.
“In this particular case I do think the impetus for the discussion started with those of us who manage the franchise overall.” But it was a discussion and not a pitch, Hirshberg said, “because we know that without a lot of passion and a lot of vision from the team, and a lot of excitement from the team, we’re never going to be successful without those things. So the conversation took on a life of its own very quickly.
These things are always a dialogue because you have to have a creative team that’s passionate about the opportunity, because I don’t know too many great or successful games that have come out of teams that weren’t passionate about making them. The good news is that when we sat down w`ith Michael [Condrey] and Glen [Schofield] and the leaders at Sledge they were immediately super excited about it and they came back with a huge vision not just for how to take us back to our roots, but a lot of new ideas to make it fresh as well.”
It’s a big bet, as the team has to know how to predict where the market will be in 2017. There has to be enthusiasm for the genre, and luckily for Activision, fans want a throwback title.
“I mean three years ago when we dreamed up this game and decided it was time to go back to our roots, we could not have known at that time that the year we would launch it would be a year in which there would be several World War II movies in the theaters and that there would be other competitors going back to historical settings.“
Activision CEO said that they had to make the bet that WWII would be the right game at the right time, striking a balance with what fans want and innovating.
“There’s no other franchise in any medium that I can think of that’s got an annual release, first of all, also that stayed on top of the charts for this many years in a row, Hirshberg said. “The most important thing is to find a way to strike … the right balance. If the game’s not familiar enough, then it doesn’t deliver on the things that people love about the franchise. And if it’s not fresh enough, they can get bored. And we’ve dealt with both ends of that continuum.
“But when you get that balance right, I think that’s when you get the best games and the best fan response and the best results overall. I think this is one of those years where it feels like the right game at the right time being made by the right team.”