The latest Call of Duty is still getting updates, but it’s already time to speculate about the next annual entry. The rumor mill is already kicking into high gear about what’s coming after Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and there’s a lot to be excited about if some recent speculation turns out to be true.
If that sounds premature, consider that Call of Duty is an annualized series. Work on the latest edition is likely in full swing, so it’s not hard to believe that plans are firming up over at Activision. Here’s everything you need to know about the speculation surrounding this year’s Call of Duty game.
When is the Call of Duty 2021 release date?
Current rumors place the game at a late 2021 launch, but there’s some more specific speculation afoot. Much of the speculation was kicked off by gaming industry insider Tom Henderson when he tweeted a development timeline of the franchise that included 2021’s release. He later clarified that his post was based on educated guesses, not fact, so this isn’t a proper leak.
However, Henderson’s guesswork is well-informed. In his estimation, he places the next Call of Duty game’s release date at November 13. While it’s a complete guess, it’s worth noting that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War came out on November 12, so there’s a precedent for that launch week.
That said, the latest installment was released as a launch title for next-gen consoles, so its release date was largely influenced by Sony and Microsoft’s calendar. While November 13 seems like a no-brainer, the previous Call of Duty games debuted between mid-October and early November, so Black Ops Cold War’s date was more an outlier than anything.
Who is developing Call of Duty 2021?
Henderson predicts that 2021’s Call of Duty title will be developed by Sledgehammer Games. The studio was the franchise’s primary developer from 2012 to 2017, before stepping back to a support role. In his estimates, Henderson notes that Sledgehammer would have likely begun development of the game in 2019, judging by previous cycles.
While Henderson’s speculation is more or less an educated guess, fans have been looking far and wide for confirmation. Some have looked to a tweet from the developer on New Year’s Eve that said “Power off. Power on. Let’s try this again” as evidence of its return to the series. In reality, that tweet seems like little more than a joke about rebooting 2020, so it’s not likely that it’s related to Call of Duty in any way.
More convincing is a report from Eurogamer, which indicates that Sledgehammer is indeed working on the game. With the Call of Duty teams split between the core series and Warzone, that makes complete sense.
What is the rumored setting of Call of Duty 2021?
There have been quite a few rumors about the setting of the next game. Recent speculation claims 2021’s Call of Duty will be an Advanced Warfare sequel set in World War 3. Leakers have speculated everything from World War 3 to the Korean War. Now there’s a leading theory: World War 2.
But there’s a twist.
According to Modern Warzone, the next title is codenamed Call of Duty: WW2 Vanguard. It’s allegedly an alt-history game where World War 2 didn’t end in 1945. Instead, players continue the war into the 1950s.
That rumor actually pulls together many previous leaks. In February, a known Call of Duty leaker teased a return to World War II in the next game. When a Twitter user responded to see if he meant World War III, he doubled down, tweeting "WW2."
The alt-history premise also lines up with Modern Warzone’s previous claim that the next game will be set in the 1950s. That led to speculation that the next game could be set in the Korean War, which started in June 1950. However, the World War 2 rumors would squash that idea.