As expected, Sledgehammer Games officially announced the next Call of Duty with the reveal of Vanguard, which will be launching in November. The new shooter is set during World War II and will feature a “historically inspired” single-player campaign, along with a multiplayer mode and integration with Call of Duty: Zombies and Warzone.
The announcement comes as Sledgehammer’s parent company Activision Blizzard, and in particular Overwatch developer Blizzard, has come under fire for a culture of sexual harassment, spurred by a lawsuit filed by the state of California. Since then employees have staged a walkout and multiple high-profile developers at Blizzard have left the studio, including president J. Allen Brack.
During a meeting with press last week, Sledgehammer studio head Aaron Halon opened with a statement regarding the situation:
The stories and the pain that have been shared are simply devastating. We love making games, it’s what we do, it’s our life’s work, and we love it. But more importantly we’re humans, we’re here for each other, working side by side, and looking out for one another in good times and in bad. So on behalf of Sledgehammer Games, and all of the team supporting Call of Duty: Vanguard, harassment of any kind goes against everything we stand for as a studio. Everyone, regardless of their title, role, gender, orientation, or ethnicity deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality.
While we can’t comment on the lawsuit, what I can say is that as a team we are committed to making sure all team members feel safe, welcome, and respected. So please know that these thoughts and actions are at the top of our minds, and will be going forward. They speak to the core values of who we are and who we wish to be.
As for the game itself, the core of Vanguard is its single-player campaign, which focuses on the origin of the special forces and will be told from multiple points of view; in addition to the Sledghammer narrative team, sci-fi writer Tochi Onyebuchi is also working on the story. Sledgehammer says the narrative will cover “the untold stories of multinational heroes that formed Task Force One, changing the face of history and setting the stage for special forces as we know it.” It’ll feature a cast of characters inspired by real-world personalities, like Lt. Polina Petrova, based on Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko, also known as “Lady Death.”
Outside of the campaign, there will be multiplayer with 20 maps at launch and game modes including “Champion Hill” where players duel solo or in squads of two or three. There will also be a Zombies mode developed by Black Ops studio Treyarch which will connect with the previous undead story from Black Ops Cold War.
At the same time, Raven Software is leading development on a Vanguard map for the battle royale spinoff Warzone. When the new map launches later this year, it’ll be accompanied by a “new anti-cheat system,” according to Activision. The company describes the crossover as an “all-new metaverse connecting Vanguard, Black Ops Cold War, and Modern Warfare.”
Call of Duty: Vanguard is launching on November 5th and will be coming to the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and PC.