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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

Activision

Will Call of Duty stay on PlayStation after Microsoft’s Activision buyout?

PlayStation fans may have some questions regarding the new Xbox acquisition, including whether Call of Duty will be on the platform.

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activision blizzard call of duty playstation

After the huge news about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, PlayStation players are wondering what will happen with future Call of Duty releases.

Since the news broke about Microsoft’s purchase of Activision, the gaming community has gone crazy worldwide. The deal is arguably the biggest acquisition in gaming history and was even worth more than Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise (Lucasfilms).

The deal has a lot of question marks surrounding it at the moment, but for those PlayStation users who are confused as to what it means for Call of Duty on the platform, here’s all the information you need.

Activision blizzard logo

The deal involves games under Activision and Activision Blizzard, which subsequently means Xbox will own Call of Duty.

This took the community by surprise when it was announced and naturally, a lot of people had questions.

For example, Call of Duty have had a close relationship with PlayStation for some years now, giving them exclusive/early access to content, so what will happen after the deal goes through?

Will Call of Duty still be on PlayStation?

Xbox’s Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft gaming, confirmed in a statement to Bloomberg that the purchase was not intended for pulling players away from Sony’s consoles, giving PS players hope that things won’t change in terms of Call of Duty’s availability on the platform.

Nothing is confirmed regarding the deal, as the companies will remain independent from each other until 2023. This means that Call of Duty 2022 will likely retain a lot of the PlayStation exclusivity deals that have been around and PS players won’t have to worry about losing content to Xbox.

It wouldn’t be wise for Microsoft to pull Call of Duty games from PlayStation, as the franchise remains the best-selling game on PlayStation platforms in the U.S. and has been for years, with Vanguard recently topping the charts for 2021.

What can be said however, is that exclusivity deals may shift from PlayStation to Xbox after the deal is closed. Call of Duty games may even be seen on the Xbox Game Pass on release, but this is all still just speculation.


So, there you have it, Call of Duty will likely remain on PlayStation platforms but the exclusive content may shift over to Xbox and PC. For more, check out every Warzone weapon ranked.

Image Credits: PlayStation / Xbox / Microsoft / Activision / Retail Tracking Service / The NDP Group

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Microsoft to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard

Microsoft have officially announced that they have acquired Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal costing nearly $70 billion.

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Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has announced that they’re set to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal nearing $70 billion.

Xbox owner Microsoft has announced that they’re taking over Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.

Microsoft said on January 18, 2022, that they’re acquiring Activision, Blizzard, and King for nearly $70 billion to “bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device.” They’ve also announced plans to bring Activision Blizzard titles to Xbox Game Pass in the future.

Activision Blizzard logo

In a post on the Xbox website, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that “we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.”

And not only that, they said that “Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want.” We’ll need to wait and see how involved Activision Blizzard will be with Microsoft’s franchises such as Halo.

Activision currently have a partnership with Sony, giving Call of Duty players on PlayStation exclusive cosmetics, Double XP events, and more. With Activision moving to Microsoft, the Sony deal will presumably end.

But, it’s unlikely that Call of Duty will become Xbox and PC exclusive, as Microsoft said: “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”

The deal will cost Microsoft “$95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion,” which makes it “the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.”

Phil Spencer said that “until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently.” Current CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in charge, but once the deal, which is set to close in the fiscal year 2023, is completed, Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer.

Activision Blizzard is currently being investigated by the SEC over sexual misconduct and discrimination allegations. Phil Spencer announced, “Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players” and said that “We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment.”

This is a developing story, so we’re likely to know more about the deal in the coming months.

Image Credit: Activision / Microsoft

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Activision files lawsuit against notable cheat provider EngineOwning

Activision has filed a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of Warzone’s most prolific cheat and hack distributors.

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Warzone player running and a judge's gavel

Activision have made a new attempt to stamp out cheat providers, filing a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of the most prolific distributors of hacks.

Cheating is a major issue in Warzone and despite the introduction of the RICOCHET anti-cheat system, hacking is still running wild on Caldera. In fact, these cheaters are so brazen, they’ve started to actively mock developers Raven with their in-game names.

It should come as no surprise that Activision are trying to shut down these cheaters for good, and the publishers of Call of Duty have once again filed a lawsuit against a site that distributes these hacks.

Warzone Pacific Sniper Rifle

In a suit filed in the State of California on January 4, Activision took aim at EngineOwning, claiming that their cheats have caused “millions of dollars” in damages, and that they are “developing new cheating software” for another of their titles in Overwatch.

Activision is seeking “to put a stop to unlawful conduct by an organization that is distributing and selling for profit numerous malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair advantages.”

“These ongoing activities damage Activision’s games, its overall business, and the experience of the CoD player community,” it continues. “This Court must put a stop to [the] defendants’ misconduct, and Activision is entitled to monetary damages, injuctive and other equitable relief, and punitive damages.”

Operators fighting in Warzone Pacific

EngineOwning is one of the largest cheat providers for Call of Duty right now, with the cheat provider continuously attempting to circumvent Activision’s anti-cheat efforts. EngineOwning’s next steps are unclear, and it remains to be seen whether the operation, which is allegedly maintained by an individual in Germany, is shut down.

Activision has made efforts as of December to stop hackers in Call of Duty with the launch of RICOCHET Anti-Cheat software, including a PC kernel-level driver for Warzone.

This system has had successes, with 48,000 cheaters banned in December, leaving hackers begging Activision for a second chance.

Image Credits: Activision / Raven Software / Ekaterina Bolovtsova: Pexels

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