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

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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

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Activision

Activision files cease and desist letter against another cheat manufacturer

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Activision Blizzard continues to take down cheat manufacturer sites to stop the spread of different cheats for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.

In August, the company filed a lawsuit against CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to be used in an IP owned by Activision Blizzard. CXCheats since deleted all cheats for Modern Warfare and Warzone in compliance with the lawsuit.

Now, in September, another large cheat manufacturer, GatorCheats, has said that Activision Blizzard has filed a cease and desist letter to stop them from making cheats for Call of Duty games.

The owner of GatorCheats said in their Discord that the first letter was filed by in May 2020, but they did not fully comply with that – opting to allow cheats to continue to be available.

In May 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys contacted me via a Cease and Desist letter. Considering this event, I decided to act on my already pending decision to close all sales to new customers for my product relating to Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has since escalated the requests. In Sept. 2020, the owner of GatorCheats claims that Activision Blizzard served another cease and desist letter. But, this time, a PI showed up at his residence with the letter and informed him of what Activision knows about their site and the owners behind it.

In September 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys had another Cease and Desist letter hand delivered to me by who I assume was a PI, considering he knew my family members by name and made a point to showcase that he did. Also in September 2020, I received very clear communication in a follow up from Activision Blizzard’s attorneys communicating that they would litigate (file a law suit against me) if I didn’t comply with continuation of stopped sales as well as a complete stoppage of interaction with and updating of any products related to their client’s products.

The full letter from the owner states that he will “never make or create” a cheat for an Activision Blizzard product again after receiving the letters and a visit from them at his house.

Activision has not commented on their anti-cheat initiatives since June, where the company said they continue to ban players on a regular basis.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Activision files lawsuit against cheat manufacturer

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Activision filed a lawsuit to sue a company responsible for creating hacks and exploits for Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has sued CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to use in Call of Duty, the company announced.

CXCheats claims on their website that they are “dedicated to quality.”

This is a pathetic marketing line to convince users to buy cheats to use in Call of Duty.

The owner announced on Discord (message posted to Reddit) that they are removing Warzone cheats from their site.

Announcement Message

As some of you may know, Activision Publishing, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against CXCheats and has made it clear to us that our services violate their Terms of Use.

As a result of our lawsuit with Activision, we have agreed to cease development and support for all Call of Duty related products or services sold through the site. These products will not be returning to CXCheats in any form. You also should be aware that using third-party tools in Call of Duty may result in the suspension or banning of your account by Activision Publishing, Inc. or the game’s developers. We apologize for any pain we’ve caused to players of Call of Duty.

Call of Duty: Warzone has been experiencing an intense amount of hackers since the game’s launch on March 13 on the PC platform.

With cross play, the hacks impacted the console players as well. PS4 players have opted to disable cross play to avoid them. Xbox players currently cannot disable cross play for unknown reasons.

CXCheats said on Discord that any user found using their software in Warzone will be banned, permanently.

Any user who utilizes unauthorized third-party software to gain an unfair advantage, manipulate stats, and/or manipulate game data is subject to penalty. Unauthorized third-party software includes, but is not limited to, aimbots, wallhacks, trainers, stats hacks, texture hacks, leaderboard hacks, injectors, or any other software used to deliberately modify game data on disk or in memory.

As of now, Activision has not commented on the lawsuit.

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Activision

Former MLB executive joins Activision Blizzard to lead Sports & Entertainment

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Activision Blizzard announced this week that former MLB executive will be joining the company starting August 17 in a newly formed position of President of Sports & Entertainment.

Petitti was the Deputy Commissioner and COO of MLB for years.

“Tony is one of the most highly regarded executives in sports and entertainment,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “His success in media and as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball is the perfect blend of skills to help us realize our aspirations for esports and our related businesses. He is admired by owners, media executives, players and fans.”

“Bobby Kotick has been translating his vision into opportunity at Activision Blizzard for 30 years. I couldn’t be more excited to use my own 30 years of sports and entertainment experience to help Activision Blizzard realize its ambitions,” said Petitti. “It’s clear to me the company has an incredible opportunity to connect players and fans in new and innovative ways, and I’m excited to be joining the company at such an important moment in its history. The last 12 years in baseball have been extraordinary for me and I am especially grateful for the leadership and mentorship that Commissioner Manfred provided to me and the League.”

Tony Petitti will join on to be in charge of the company’s esports businesses, which include Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, consumer products division, and films & television division.

Petitti will report directly to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

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