To use official industry parlance, Call of Duty: Vanguard was pretty good. “Singleplayer has some great missions, and multiplayer has some decent modes,” we said in our 60% review. “But overall, Call of Duty: Vanguard is a war we’ve seen before.”
Apparently, Activision Blizzard feels more or less the same way. In your newly released 2021 annual reportthe company said the Vanguard did not live up to expectations, “primarily due to our own execution”.
“The game’s WWII setting didn’t resonate with some of our community, and we didn’t deliver as much premium game innovation as we would have liked,” the report reads. “We are certainly addressing both of these issues with the 2022 release. The developer of the 2022 premium and Warzone experiences is being led by Activision’s renowned studio Infinity Ward. We are working on the most ambitious plan in Call of Duty history, with over 3,000 people now working on the franchise and a return to the Modern Warfare scene that delivered our most successful Call of Duty title ever.”
Call of Duty definitely seems to be struggling, at least compared to the heady days of 2020 and early 2021 following Warzone’s release. We reported last week that lose 50 million players last year due to a mix of disappointing sales from Vanguard and “lower engagement” in Warzone, although we’ve theorized that live battle royale Warzone likely accounted for most of the loss.
Still, it seems clear that Activision is placing a large part of the blame on Vanguard and the WWII landscape in general. What I think is fair: Vanguard struggled with a number of issues, including insects, bad calls, content delaysand geographic confusion up to and after launch, while Activision Blizzard has been dealing with allegations of workplace misconduct that surfaced before Vanguard was announced.
But aside from all that, the game itself just didn’t seem to fire the imagination, and the story – about a multinational squad of four on the hunt”Hitler’s successor,” which somehow poses an existential threat to the world despite Germany’s absolute annihilation in the events immediately preceding the game – it only served to illustrate the contortions necessary to extract something “new” from a WWII setting.
Activision Blizzard is clearly pinning high hopes on Modern Warfare 2, the next premium release in the Call of Duty series, which was officially confirmed last week, looks very different. Despite Vanguard’s relative disappointment, it has good reason to: It’s a rough metric, but Vanguard reveals tweet in August 2021 it received just under 34,000 likes; in contrast, Black Ops – Cold War reveals tweet in 2020 it surpassed 118,000 likes, while the Modern Warfare 2 reveal tweet now has over 172,000 likes.
The new era of Call of Duty is coming. #ModernWarfare2 pic.twitter.com/HMtv2S6NlzApril 28, 2022