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With fans having Black Ops Cold War for a couple of months now, they are already thinking ahead to what Call of Duty 2021 could bring. Unlike previous years, it’s not entirely clear which development studio will be in control of the upcoming FPS title. 

Who has developed past Call of Duty games?

Up until 2020’s Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty fans could wager a pretty accurate guess at which of Activision’s development studios would be behind the upcoming game, even long before its confirmation.

A three-year cycle was established, with Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games alternating year on year. For example, 2014’s Advanced Warfare was the product of Sledgehammer Games, 2015’s Black Ops III came from Treyarch, and 2016’s Infinite Warfare was developed by Infinity Ward.

By that cycle, this year’s Black Ops Cold War should have been the work of Sledgehammer Games. However, rumors state that disarray and slow progress at SHG resulted in the project being thrown the way of veteran devs Treyarch. What followed was Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Treyarch just dropped Season One in Black Ops Cold War and Warzone.
Treyarch

Treyarch developed Black Ops Cold War, which has since merged with battle royale Warzone.

As such, the whole three-year cycle has been thrown out of order. Next year’s game, the setting of which remains completely under wraps, appears to be between three different studios.

Who’s developing Call of Duty 2021: Infinity Ward, Raven, or Sledgehammer Games?

We’ll start off by taking a look at Infinity Ward. The devs of 2019’s Modern Warfare have been long-time developers of CoD titles, perhaps best known for the original Modern Warfare trilogy released from 2007-2011.

They seem like outside contenders for CoD 2021, given the fact that Modern Warfare’s life cycle only ended a few months ago. Though there have been rumors of a sequel to their 2019 Modern Warfare, it seems unlikely to come just two years after their previous title was released.

It’s unlikely to see Treyarch developing the next iteration, with them being thrown in at the deep end because of Sledgehammer’s issues.

Modern Warfare Uninstall Guide
Activision-Blizzard

2019’s MW is the last Infinity Ward developed game.

Next up, we’ll take a look at Raven. We’re considering them the long shots for CoD 2021. Their involvement in Activision’s FPS series has largely been as a support studio – helping Infinity Ward with Modern Warfare Remastered and Warzone.

Their incremental involvement is conducive to being a lead studio in the future, but we’re not sure they’re quite there yet. Right now, this studio is focusing a lot on Warzone.

Finally, and favorite to take the reigns on CoD 2021 is Sledgehammer Games. As previously mentioned, they were set to be behind CoD 2020, but behind-the-scenes issues prevented them from doing so and pushed it into Treyarch’s hands.

Sledgehammer Games
Sledgehammer Games

CoD: WWII was Sledgehammer Games’ last title, and its reception was mixed.

During the interim year, we’ve seen reports that SHG has expanded their staff numbers by over 150 people, suggesting something big is in the works.

What’s more, certain leakers – namely TheGamingRevolution and Tom Henderson – have hinted that they’ve heard SHG are in the driving seat for CoD 2021. Whether they’ll be supported by Raven or Beenox remains to be seen.

On December 31, 2020, Sledgehammer posted a cryptic tweet, simply stating “Power off. Power on. Let’s try this again. Happy New Year!”

It’s looking incredibly likely that Sledgehammer Games is set to develop the upcoming title, if the cryptic tweet is anything to go by.

Call of Duty 2021 release date

As of yet, little information is available in regards to when fans can get their hands on the newest title in the franchise. Following similar release title windows, it can be speculated that we might see something around Autumn 2021, but that’s yet to be seen.


Make sure to stay tuned over at our dedicated Call of Duty hub for all upcoming news and guides. Check back here often, as Dexerto will be hot on any upcoming news about 2021’s release.

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