Activision Denies Rumours of Delayed CoD 2023 & End to Annual Releases

Rumours suggesting that there will be a two-year break after Modern Warfare 2 launches later this year have been disputed by Activision, shedding doubt on suggestions that CoD was dropping its annual release cycle.

Cod 2023 mw2 annual releases
This year's Call of Duty will be a sequel to Modern Warfare 2019, but could also be the last new Call of Duty for the next two years. | © Activision

Treyarch's rumored 2023 Call of Duty game are rumoured to have been delayed a year, with Activision Blizzard moving away from annual releases, Bloomberg reports. Whilst nothing is yet known about Call of Duty 2023, it has been assumed that the game was being developed by Treyarch, and would be some kind of a follow-up to 2020's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

[UPDATE: February 24, 2022]

Activision Disputes CoD 2023 Delay Rumours, Confirm Annual Releases

In a statement issued EarlyGame as well as other associated press, Activision have denied and disputed all rumours relating to Call of Duty 2023's delays and a potential end to yearly releases. The statement, provided to us via email, suggests that both premium and free-to-play Call of Duty releases will come not only in 2022, but in 2023 and into the future. The email reads as follows:

We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond. Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.

Whilst the statement from Activision Blizzard does confirm that there will be a selection of "premium" and "free-to-play" games "this year, next year and beyond" does not actually confirm that there will be one each year. It is very possible that what Schreier revealed in this week's report does actually turn out to be true. That being said, though, the statement that "Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect" does seem pretty definitive.

We'll have to wait and see what happens, but the vagueness of this statement is quite clearly designed to dispel rumours, and for good reason. Activision won't want to reveal their game plan (forgive the pun) until the time is right for them.

[ORIGINAL ARTICLE: February 23, 2022]

This news leaves this year's Modern Warfare 2 to fill the first two-year release void in nearly twenty years. Infinity Ward will need to pull out all the stops to make sure that their follow-up to the ground-breaking Modern Warfare (2019) has the legs to withstand such a long lifecycle. Seeing as the game is reportedly already in Alpha, that doesn't seem quite so unrealistic.

According to Jason Schreier of Bloomberg, the decision to delay Call of Duty 2023 comes after a recent Call of Duty game "failed to meet expectations". The implication here is that due to poor sales of last year's Call of Duty: Vanguard, the Call of Duty arm of Activision Blizzard are taking a look at new strategies for developing and releasing higher-quality and better-selling games.

No Call of Duty 2023, But Maybe Warzone 2

Whilst Treyarch's highly anticipated Call of Duty 2023 will not release until 2024, we may still receive a free-to-play Call of Duty game next year. Activision is reportedly working on other projects to fill the game, and with ongoing rumors about a potential Warzone 2, we can expect as much to release in 2023. Regarding future free-to-play Call of Duty experiences, an Activision spokesperson gave the following statement to Bloomberg:

We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond... We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.

According to Bloomberg, though, Treyarch - not Infinity Ward - will be helping develop this upcoming free-to-play Call of Duty game, which explains perhaps the specific decision to delay Call of Duty 2023. However, this is not the entire story, with the performance of both Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Vanguard, which sold well below expectations, clearly having a large influence on this decision.

Schreier confirms in his report that Call of Duty 2023's delay is unrelated to Microsoft's recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a nearly $70 billion USD deal that made headlines earlier this year. Nor does it have anything to do with the ongoing sexual discrimination allegations levelled against Activision Blizzard midway through last year.

Does This Mean No Yearly CoDs?

It seems likely that Activision Blizzard will no longer release annual Call of Duty games after this year's Modern Warfare 2. Whilst this has not been confirmed by Activision Blizzard as of writing, we have reached out to a spokesperson at the publisher and are awaiting a response. The decision to stop annual Call of Duty releases could do a lot to improve the franchise and take it in a better direction, though.

Whatever the outcome, though, Call of Duty does look set for a relatively strong 2022. This is something that Activision Blizzard will be keen on continuing, bringing new content to Call of Duty: Vanguard, building upon Warzone's new map, and launching Modern Warfare 2 in the best state possible. Call of Duty 2023 might be getting delayed, but this will certainly be a good thing for the franchise in the long-run.