Kotaku’s extensive report on the human cost of getting Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 ready was shared earlier today as the outlet shines a light as to the extensive crunch the studio goes through with QA and contractors to get Call of Duty ready for launch.
As part of that report, Kotaku has expanded just a bit on their own story from late May that Activision had decided to make Treyarch the lead on the 2020 Call of Duty after tensions between SHG and Raven continued to escalate. The 2020 game is set to be in the Cold War era.
Kotaku reports that many staffers at Treyarch only find out about the change after Kotaku reported that they’d be lead on the 2020 Call of Duty game.
“We didn’t know about the new title until your article dropped,” one tester told Kotaku. “A couple days later we received an email that wasn’t meant for us, confirming the new title… When we tried to ask about it, they said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’”
In addition, Kotaku reports that developers at Treyarch are already preparing for the crunch of what’s to happen with the series going back to a 2 year development cycle for the first time in years. Kotaku even noted that some at the studio have grumbled that they fear Call of Duty is feeling stale to fans as they pump out yearly releases.
Late last month, Treyarch informed staffers (except QA) that they would be taking a lead role on a new Black Ops game in 2020, one that takes the series back to its Cold War roots. There are concerns in the studio that returning to a two-year development cycle (after getting three years for each of the last two games) will exacerbate the crunch and worsen the issues that Treyarch has been facing. Even with sister studios Sledgehammer and Raven working on the game alongside Treyarch, will the development team be able to finish a new Black Opsin the next year and a half without killing themselves along the way? Without burning out all of their employees? Several Treyarch employees said they’ve grumbled about the long-running shooter series feeling stale, pointing to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed as an example of how taking off a year can revitalize a franchise. There’s been a new Call of Duty every year since 2005, and so far, Activision has not shown any willingness to give the series a break.