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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

Activision merges Vicarious Visions into Blizzard Entertainment

Activision owned Vicarious Visions will now be part of Blizzard Entertainment division.

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Activision has announced that one of their wholly owned studios, Vicarious Visions, will no longer be part of the Activision Publishing division.

The company has revealed that Vicarious Visions will be fully merged into Blizzard Entertainment division of the company effective immediately.

Vicarious Visions has worked on many titles and projects for Activision, including Skylanders, Destiny franchise, supported development of select Call of Duty games, and more. Most recently, the studio developed and released remasters of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2. The studio was listed as a support developer of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

In a statement to GamesIndustry, Blizzard says the studio becomes a “natural fit” after working on several Blizzard projects behind the scenes for the last several years.

“After collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support,” a representative explained to us.

It’s not truly clear how long Vicarious has been supporting Blizzard projects.

Vicarious Visions’ studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to be Executive VP of Development at Blizzard Entertainment as part of the merger. She will report directly to Blizzard President J. Allen Barrack. All 200 Vicarious Vision employees will be part of Blizzard and work on Blizzard projects.

Her role is being replaced by Simon Ebejer, who was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the studio. It’s not clear what projects within Blizzard they are working on. Blizzard has multiple projects in the works, including Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, and more.

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Call of Duty: Warzone

Clever Warzone tricks lets you land without a parachute

A few players have discovered a fun little trick in Call of Duty Warzone that allows them to touch down on Verdansk without a parachute.

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How to land without a parachute in Warzone

There is a useful trick that you can use in a Call of Duty: Warzone match to break your fall while in mid-air. This will allow you to land safely in Verdansk without worrying about deploying your parachute. 

Call of Duty: Warzone will pit you against a ton of other players in a highly competitive Battle Royale match. The instant you land in Verdansk, you’ll have to find ways to get ahead of your enemies through different weapons or gear, scoring killstreaks, and even making use of glitches.

Players have discovered many different maneuvers in the game since its release in March 2020. These grant you an advantage over your opponent, including one that has you take out enemies by firing in mid-air.

This will have you deploy your parachute when you’re near the ground, and is a great way to score kills in mid-air. Now a neat new trick has been discovered that removes the need for a parachute altogether.

Parachutes in Warzone

How to land in Warzone without a parachute

This trick was pointed out by Reddit user Thexer0, who posted a clip of them dropping into Verdansk in the Call of Duty: Warzone subreddit. Here they showed that you are able to land on different surfaces without deploying your parachute.

Al you need to do is try hitting certain edges and surfaces in mid-air to break the fall before landing on your feet. In the clip, the player used a Satellite dish for this purpose, and slid off the curved edge before taking out their weapon.

While this trick is useful, it’s not guaranteed to work unless you’re precise with your landing. If you don’t hit the right type of surface, then you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. The player pointed this out and mentioned that you should try this “at your own risk.”

That said, this trick is absolutely worth trying out. Other players also commented on the thread about their own attempts at this neat little exploit, and many of them reported that it worked out successfully for them.

One Reddit user said “You can do it as well with some of the telephone/electrical towers,” and another mentioned “It works on stones and stuff too. You gotta land on the edges, something around 45 degrees.”

Parachutes are a vital component in Warzone matches, so you should definitely go for this trick. All it takes to succeed in pulling it off is some practice, along with a ton of patience. You can learn some more helpful tricks in our Warzone tips and tricks guide.

Image Credits: Activision

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Treyarch dev Tony Flame’s Twitter account hacked

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On this Christmas morning, Treyarch’s Lead Designer, Tony Flame, has had his Twitter hacked.

A user hacked Tony Flame’s Twitter account in the early morning hours of December 25, and has gone on a posting rampage, including posting racial slurs and more across the account. The hacker is @wixyV3.

We’re not going to showcase posts here with any racial slurs. The Twitter account has been locked by Twitter for the amount of slurs the hackers have posted, per images sent around in Discord servers.

One of the hacked tweets that has gone viral is about SBMM, asking Activision to remove it from his “game” he “worked hard to make.”

The account still remains hacked at this hour, but it does appear that tweets are being blocked from posting at this time. Twitter locked the account due to the content being posted.

Tony Flame’s account is not verified on the platform.

Flame has been active in posting since Black Ops Cold War’s alpha launched back in September. He’s been posting updates and thoughts around what the team is doing in terms of balancing and content updates.

The last tweet from Flame himself was a Merry Christmas post on the night of December 24.

Activision has not stated anything yet on this hack.

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