Connect with us

Activision

A Call of Duty game set in ancient Rome was in development years ago, cancelled after initial prototypes – UPDATE

Published

on

UPDATE 2: Activision has issued the following statement regarding this:

“The game concept was proposed by a former employee while working at the studio, but was not seriously considered nor requested to move to prototype.”


UPDATE – July 7: GamesRadar has updated their story to state that, following Activision’s rejection of the pitch, members of the team that were developing it left and pitched the idea again to Ubisoft just as “Roman Wars.”


Original Story:

A new article from GamesRadar states that at one point eight years ago, a Call of Duty game set in ancient Rome was in development at one of Activision’s studios, called Call of Duty: Roman Wars.

The game featured “battle elephants trampling soldiers, a playable Julius Caesar and first-person sword combat,” and initially, Activision liked the idea of this game. Eight years ago, Call of Duty was selling incredibly well, and anything attached to that brand could do well in the market.

In 2008, Activision was pitching ideas to studios about expanding the Call of Duty universe because of the success of the franchise. This idea was called ‘Call of Duty: Roman Wars,’ a game which featured the story following Tenth Legion. GamesRadar spoke with some sources — who are being referred to as ‘Polemus’ to hide their real identity. The title was in development at Vicarious Visions, a studio that Activision has owned since 2005. That studio now is the lead on the kids game Skylanders, which is now a billion dollar franchise.

At the time, Vicarious Visions was working on Marvel: Ultimate Alliances 2, but they started prototyping a Call of Duty game set in ancient Rome.

“We were asked to do some Call of Duty prototypes, so we had a whole team working on a new prototype we called the Fireteam,” explains Polemus. “It was basically a new Call of Duty but with an overhead Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 camera.”

“Anything that we put out that had Call of Duty [on], whatever we were sticking out, was selling really well, so [Activision] gave some studios an opportunity to test their their capabilities on the franchise, and whoever had the winning idea would get to take on the IP.”

Vicarious Visions team thought that bringing the Call of Duty engine to such a game would really improve it for the future. The game’s story followed Julius Caesar’s Tenth Legion (his special forces), and one of the levels they had prototyped was based off of the Battle of Alesia.

“I really thought an ancient warfare game would do well, re-skinned with the Call of Duty engine,” says Polemus. “Basically we were following Julius Caesar’s Tenth Legion – his special forces during those times – and we were doing a one level prototype based on the Battle of Alesia. So we built the one mission based on that. We had everything from riding horses, to riding an elephant, to working with catapults. All done in the Unreal Engine for rapid prototyping”.

Call of Duty: Roman Wars had both third-person perspectives, and first-person perspectives that players could play in. The game featured a straightforward combat system, lead by shields and swords. “The real work for the combat system went into just a shield-sword, block and parry which worked really well; it was a fun mechanic.” They also had plans for bows, spears, and even the ability to throw sand in the enemies’ face.

The demo that Vicarious Visions had to show Activision started off with horse riding section and a speech delivered by Julius Caesar. The objective of that mission was to take down the archers. In this game, the ‘tank’ was basically elephants.

“You drive it [and] if there’s any enemies it can trample them for you. Beside that you get a better perspective and you have some protection because it had its own little booth-seat that protected you and you could duck under.”

There was also parts of the demo which showed off the first-person perspective and a different setting. The team’s goal was to have the full game contain variety of characters and perspectives to show off the Roman century.

“You were going to fight against the Germans and the Germanic Tribes and really stay true to the history of Julius’ conquests during the Gallic Wars,” they explain. “You were going to jump around from officers to low grunts to Caesar and get a little variety of all of those little battles, so you’d play an archer here, you’d play a cavalry over in this phase. And it was going to stay true to the Call of Duty franchise in that jumping around, playing those different characters and getting a whole feel of the overall battle during those times”.

This prototype was sent up to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, and it was initially well received by the executives. There was, however, a lot of uncertainties of releasing this game with the Call of Duty branding on it.

“I at the time was being sort of… I was being stiff in that area,” they admit. “I was huge on Call of Duty myself so I was like ‘I really want to keep it on the Call of Duty level.’ And they said, ‘that’s not going to fly with Activision – they’re already looking at a different version and they don’t want to oversaturate the market.’”

Roman Wars, thus, was cancelled. If the game did come to life, as GameRadar points out, there would have been a market for it on the Xbox One too, as seen with the popular Ryse game that launched with the Xbox One console.

“It would’ve started aligning with the Xbox One depending on the roll out and how long the production would have been. And, strangely enough, a launch title for the Xbox One was Ryse – the Roman war game, which is crazy! When we saw that we were just like ‘See! We knew!’ You had Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, you had all the future stuff – especially with Halo and all those more futuristic-style shooters – they weren’t sure if it was going to resonate as strongly, but then a launch title actually was a freaking ancient Roman warfare game. I think if Call of Duty did that, and they did it with the mechanics we were working with and that engine? That launch title would have been a lot bigger and a lot more well received”.

The feature image shows a prototpye of the game on Xbox 360, but had this game been released, it would have also been on PS3 and PC because of Activision’s multi-platform policy, GameRadar confirmed.

There’s also a video with actual footage from the prototype from GamesRadar:

SOURCE: GamesRadar via @COD_Online

Activision

Activision cuts ties with voice actor of Ghost, Jeff Leach, after sexist comments resurface

Activision ends relations with the re-casted voice actor behind Ghost.

Published

on

Activision has cut all ties with Jeff Leach, the voice actor behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Ghost Operator, after sexist comments made by Leach resurfaced on social media.

Jeff Leach was the voice actor behind the Ghost character in Modern Warfare 2019 and Warzone. The entire original Modern Warfare cast was re-casted for the 2019 reboot, and Leach voiced Ghost when the character was added as an operator in Season 2 in February 2020.

The news of Activision ending their working relationship with Leach comes as sexist comments made by Jeff Leach have resurfaced online after streamers and community members were questioning why Leach still had partners within the industry.

A Twitter thread posted shows sexist comments Leach made about streamer ZombiUnicorn in 2017, as well as other more recent comments during a stream on Facebook Gaming, and asked why he still has partnerships with Facebook Gaming and Activision.

Leach has been streaming on Facebook Gaming as an official partner in 2020 and has been frequently streaming Warzone.

One of the clips shows Leach, while playing Call of Duty: Warzone, saying, “I love how it’s always like some dirty, dirty, gross f**king looking emo b**ch who looks like she f**king has no chance of getting a bit of d**k in her.”

These clips are believed to be from a live stream that occurred in December 2020.

ZombiUnicorn since replied in their own video response on Twitter, asking why Facebook and Activision still have partnerships with Leach.

In a new statement sent to CharlieIntel on May 8th, Activision says they have ended all working relationships with Jeff Leach and “condemn” all of his remarks.

Sexism has no place in our industry, our games or in society,” Activision says in a new statement. “Activision is no longer working with Jeff Leach. We strongly condemn these remarks. We are committed to delivering a fun and safe experience for all players.”

Facebook Gaming has not commented on Jeff Leach’s comments at this time.

What this means for the future of Ghost Operator in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone remains to be seen and was not addressed in this statement.

Feature Image: Jeff Leach Twitter

Continue Reading

Activision

Johanna Faries named new Call of Duty General Manager

Published

on

Johanna Faries Call of Duty General Manager

Activision Blizzard announced that Johanna Faries had been named the new General Manager of the Call of Duty franchise.

Call of Duty is arguably the biggest franchise in the video game world and one of the top entities in all of entertainment. With great success this past year thanks to Black Ops Cold War and Warzone, Activision Blizzard has officially decided who will lead the franchise into the future.

This week, Activision announced that Johanna Faries has been named the new General Manager of the Call of Duty franchise. In her expanded role, she will have management oversight of every angle of the high-profile first-person shooter franchise going forward.

Johanna Faries Call of Duty General Manager

“Since joining Activision Blizzard, I’ve had the opportunity of a lifetime to set a new and dynamic vision for Call of Duty eSports alongside an incredibly talented team of colleagues, players, owners, and partners. In the process, I’ve been on the front lines of the Call of Duty franchise, working closely with our studio and marketing teams to deliver breakthrough experiences for players and fans the world over,” said Faries to GameInformer. “Call of Duty has made an immeasurable impact on the world of gaming and entertainment and is a bona fide cultural phenomenon. I can’t wait to help usher the franchise into its next chapter, and to continue to unlock the power that Call of Duty holds for the future of competitive entertainment.”

Faries is far from new when it comes to Call of Duty. She first joined Activision Blizzard in 2018 as the Head of Call of Duty Esports. Her goal when joining the company to create the franchised Call of Duty League, which lead to her becoming the Call of Duty League Commissioner and subsequently the Head of Leagues at Activision Blizzard, including the Overwatch League over the last 3 years.

The National Football League is where Johanna Faries called home before Activision Blizzard, where she spent 12 years as an executive.

With Call of Duty continuing its reign as a heavyweight in the video game world and Black Ops Cold War and Warzone kicking off Season 3 that saw the introduction of the new Verdansk ’84 map, there is no more exciting time to see where Johanna Faries will help take the franchise in the future.

Image Credits: Activision Blizzard

Continue Reading

Activision

Premium Call of Duty games will be revealed later in the year than usual

Activision confirms Warzone’s success has had an impact on Call of Duty marketing decisions.

Published

on

With the success of Call of Duty: Warzone and the post launch campaigns, Activision has acknowledged that they are experiencing a shift in their marketing of Call of Duty.

The Call of Duty marketing machine has been in almost a consistent pattern for years. A new game gets announced in May, MP reveal over the summer, potential beta in August/September, and then a release in October/November. It’s been systematic.

That entire process has been upended with the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone. With the game’s success and continued post launch campaign seasons ongoing, there’s a lot to talk about now without having to shift attention to the latest premium release so early.

And, Activision’s President is acknowledging this shift in Call of Duty marketing plans. When asked in a new interview with VentureBeat about revealing new CoD games later in the year, Kostich states “we’re probably shifting a bit more in that direction.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the first to experience this. The game, which fans hoped would be announced in the similar schedule in May, was only revealed in end of August. The reveal event occurred within Call of Duty: Warzone, a new way for Activision to engage the fan base.

Kostich says that the reason for the change in reveal time frame is what we’re seeing right now. “You’ve seen what we have in season three this week. We have so much to talk about and so much going on that’s happening this week. We want to focus on that with the community, focus on the journey with them.”

He reiterated how Black Ops reveal was able to be apart of Warzone, something Activision has never been able to do before. “We did some cool things in terms of integrating the reveal of Black Ops into Warzone. Those are the things we want to orchestrate and provide to our community, letting them discover Call of Duty themselves in their play experience.”

Kostich confirms that “marketing is changing within Call of Duty, how we get the community to participate and uncover things for us.

He states that reveals of premium CoD games “might be happening later, but it’s all part of a broader agenda to bring the community along on a fun journey.”

How this impacts Call of Duty 2021 release timing will be interesting to watch. Activision has steep competition this year with EA releasing Battlefield game and Xbox releasing Halo Infinite.

As always, stay tuned for the latest news on Call of Duty.

Continue Reading