Call of Duty: WW2 takes the shooter series back to its roots, ditching futuristic battles for gritty, World War 2 action. But this was not the game that developer Sledgehammer Games set out to make, as the team initially wanted to go in a much different direction.
In a new interview, Eric Hirshberg the CEO of Activision revealed that “Sledgehammer wanted to make Advanced Warfare 2.” Though Hirshberg and other executives at Activision had noticed that fans had been calling for the series to embrace boots on the ground combat again, which is how the Call of Duty series began. As a result, Activision pushed Sledgehammer to make Call of Duty: WW2 instead.
Hirshberg said that “We knew [Sledgehammer Games] would become historians, that they would tackle it with authenticity, give it tremendous care and we also knew they would capture the unspeakable scale of World War II.” The Activision executive also said that Call of Duty: WW2 delivers a “human-scale, boots-on-the-ground, militaristic, authentic experience” in a “big way.”
From a business standpoint, the decision to make a WW2 shooter is absolutely the right one. While Activision may have noticed the trend years ago, fans’ rallying against futuristic shooters came to a head last year. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare saw major backlash for taking the series’ shooting to space and that’s partly why Call of Duty: WW2 has been so well received. Had Sledgehammer made Advanced Warfare 2, the fan fury may have only continued.
Fans’ appetite for a boots on the ground shooter has also been reflected in the early performance of the game. Not only has Call of Duty: WW2 massively outperformed Infinite Warfare in terms of sales, but it also made over $500 million during its launch weekend. Additionally, it set a sales record for digital game sales as well as the amount of players playing a Call of Duty game concurrently.
Because of the way that the Call of Duty development cycle works, fans would have to wait three years for Sledgehammer Games’ vision of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 2 to be released at the earliest. The few fans actually disappointed that the series has gone back to WW2 won’t be happy to hear that. However, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is reportedly set to be released next year and that will hopefully provide the futuristic action that a minority of fans are looking for.
Call of Duty: WW2 is out now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.