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Opinion: Which developer could be working on the 2014 Call of Duty game?

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There are always rumors about what the next Call of Duty game will be, and who will be developing it. Ever since Call of Duty 3, the developers weren’t hard to guess – Infinity Ward and Treyarch switched off year after year. But now it seems like there’s a possibility of a third developer entering the scene: Sledgehammer Games. Sledgehammer Games worked with Infinity Ward to Co-Develop Modern Warfare 3 – the best entertainment franchise of 2011.

Which developer will be taking the lead for 2014: Treyarch or Sledgehammer Games? We’re going to list the facts about both studios.

Sledgehammer Games

After Modern Warfare 3 development ended, Sledgehammer Games basically “disappeared.” Many fans expected them to come back with Infinity Ward on Call of Duty: Ghosts, but that didn’t happen. When Infinity Ward announced Call of Duty: Ghosts in May, Sledgehammer Games tweeted saying they aren’t working on Ghosts, rather a different game. And in May of this year, Activision CEO said, “Sledgehammer is not working on this game, but they are working on some other stuff we haven’t announced yet.”

Rumors have surfaced that Sledgehammer Games could be working on a new Modern Warfare game – maybe MW4 or branch out of the Modern Warfare line. An employe’s Linkedln profile stated that he was working on a new Modern Warfare game. Sledgehammer Games has been actively recruiting new employes for a ‘ambitious’ new CoD project for over two years now. If you look at Sledgehammer Games’s Linkedln account, there’s 15 jobs currently available – many of them being the temporary ones, and jobs related to the QA position. With many temporary jobs and the QA position being opened up, it seems like the studio is in fact gearing up to deliver something new very soon.

Treyarch

The general leading idea toward Treyarch coming in 2014 is the Call of Duty pattern. Infinity Ward came with Ghosts this year, so fans would assume Treyarch is coming back next year with a new game, which is reportedly a new Black Ops game, although nothing is official yet. The actor behind Frank Woods later tweeted that he would be back in 2014, although we don’t know what the really means. It could mean either he himself will be going back to Treyarch or a new game. But, there are a few things that seem to put us off on believing Treyarch is coming in 2014. They  have 16 job positions currently available, but a majority of those have been on Treyarch’s job page for over two years now. None of those jobs are “temporary” or QA, and you’d expect a few of those if you’re gearing up to launch a new game within the next year.

The job listings could be mean absolutely nothing, and the fact that the current 2 year dev cycle is working could lead to a new Treyarch game coming in 2014. It ends up being a factor upon which studio Activision wants to release a new game from.

With the new generation of consoles, Activision could be looking at ways to change the Call of Duty formula by implementing a new 3-year dev cycle. This would mean that Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and SHGames will be switching off, which could help the developers implement new technology and features with the extra year of development.

In regards to which consoles and platforms the next Call of Duty game will be on, it’s expected that it will come to Xbox One, PS4, PC, and the Xbox 360 and PS3. Most of the current job listings even state experience with Xbox 360 and PS3 is needed, which leads us to believe Activision isn’t abandoning the “last gen” consoles for 2014.

What do you think? Which developer will be coming next year?

Activision

Activision issuing “hardware bans” to thwart Warzone cheaters

Activision have confirmed that they are handing out “hardware bans” to banned cheaters who keep making fresh accounts.

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Call of Duty Warzone gameplay

Cheaters and hackers have plagued Call of Duty: Warzone since its launch, but on top of account bans, Activision has confirmed that they are issuing hardware bans to thwart repeat offenders.

Cheaters have been a thorn in both players’ and developers’ sides since Warzone launched in 2020. It has been common to run into players blatantly wall-hacking and aim-botting, ruining the game for casual players and pros alike.

Raven Software has been providing regular updates on how many cheaters have been banned, and Activision recently confirmed that 475,000 permabans have been issued since Warzone’s launch. The likely reason why this number is so high is that Warzone is free-to-play. It’s widely believed that even if a cheater’s account gets banned, they can simply create a new one and carry on as if nothing happened.

Activision is aware of this issue and player’s concerns and released an in-depth update on their anti-cheat progress on April 12.

Because so many players have been concerned that account bans are ineffective, Call of Duty staff responded to this, saying that “Removing cheaters and taking away their ability to move to alternate accounts is a key focus for the security teams.”

They confirmed that if you’re cheating, not only could you be unknowingly downloading malware to your system, you could also receive a hardware ban.

To make sure players don’t keep creating fresh accounts to cheat with, Activision said, “We do issue hardware bans against repeat, or serial, cheaters. This is an important part of our effort to combat repeat offenders.”

This means that players who receive a hardware ban will be permanently locked out and won’t be able to simply create a new, free account and go back to their cheating ways.

Helicopters flying to Warzone's Verdansk Stadium

Activision also confirmed that not only are they targeting individual accounts with cheats installed, but also “the commercial market of cheat providers and resellers.” They revealed that they have recently banned “45,000 fraudulent, black market accounts used by repeat offenders.”

Cheaters will likely still make their way into your Warzone sessions, but Activision is making sure it’s continuously more risky and difficult to do.

In the meantime, you can check out our guide on how to spot cheaters in Warzone so you can assist Activision by reporting these players.

Image Credit: Activision

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Report: Activision Blizzard HQ & Treyarch offices set to relocate

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A new report states Activision Blizzard will no longer lease its office space in Santa Monica and are actively searching for a new HQ location.

DoTEsports reports that Activision Blizzard and Treyarch have ended their lease at their Santa Monica HQ offices. The company has had the office under their lease for more than a decade.

Per the new report, the teams that work in those spaces will work from home until further notice.

The company is reportedly in search of a new space. An internal memo, which was sent to staff and obtained by DoTEsports, states the company is actively looking for a new office space in the Santa Monica area.

We have narrowed down the search for our next office location to several properties in the Santa Monica area and we hope to finalize our plans in the coming weeks,” the internal company communication said.

Activision employees have been working from home since March 2020. As of now, the company says they’re on track to return to office by September 1, 2021. The timeline remains unchanged.

Activision’s main headquarters was located in the Santa Monica office on Ocean Blvd in California. Treyarch’s studio space was located right next door to Activision Blizzard HQ in Santa Monica on the first floor of an office building. The two used those buildings for over 10 years now, and are now up for rental and purchase.

Activision has not commented on this information as of now.

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Investment group calls out Activision for CEO payout

Activision Blizzard’s CEO continues to rake in bonus after bonus, and now investment firms are questioning the decisions.

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An investment firm, CtW, issued a statement report directed at Activision for upcoming bonus pay for their CEO, Bobby Kotick, which is valued at a remarkable $200 million.

The report states that an SEC filing and agreement between Activision Blizzard CEO and the board of directors of the company will allow the CEO to receive a bonus pay of $200 million at the end of this year.

Per the investment group, as released to GameSpot, a loophole created within Bobby Kotick’s employee agreement allows him to claim full bonus payout for previous years regardless of the company’s performance. This loophole is described in the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in Kotick’s employment agreement. He can receive a full performance equity payout from previous years – 2017 and on. That is valued at almost $200 million, which is set to be paid out in cash upon the end date of the incentive provision.

Investment group CtW issued a scathing statement over this, as the company just this week laid off less than 2% of its workforce, which is less than 190 people for “restructuring” purposes. The lay offs impacted Activision Blizzard esports department, alongside the company’s King division.

While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” director of executive compensation research, Michael Varner, said. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.

Bobby Kotick already makes $30 million a year from Activision thanks to his base salary and bonus yearly pay. He’s one of gaming’s highest paid executives. Activision continues to report record profits with 2020 being the company’s biggest year yet.

Activision has not commented on the latest developments on this payout.

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