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Black Ops 6 Is the Most Important Call of Duty Game Since WWII

The FPS franchise has a lot to prove this year.

Treyarch Corporation

In a fun easter egg dug up by Call Of Duty Warzone players, developer Treyarch has seemingly confirmed the name of the next entry in the blockbuster first-person shooter franchise. The upcoming release will be the first under the Xbox banner, and arguably the most important title in the series since 2017’s Call Of Duty: WWII.

Players have recently found the so-called “Sally pistol” in red loot crates on the battle royale’s Resurgence and Urzikstan maps. This pickup is a reference to 2010’s Call Of Duty: Black Ops’ box art, which featured a faceless soldier holding this exact handgun with the name “Sally” etched into its barrel. Players can permanently add the weapon to their loadout by eliminating at least one other player.

The newly discovered Warzone variant also features the name Sally along its side, with six notches etched into its barrel. It’s led to players concluding that the next game will be Black Ops 6. Treyarch has replied to tweets mentioning the Sally’s addition to Warzone with not-so-subtle winking and eyeball emojis.

If prior rumors and leaks from reputable sources like Insider Gaming are true, Black Ops 6 will be set during the 1990’s Iraq and U.S. military conflict. It’s rumored that the game will also feature open-ended campaign missions similar to the ones featured in last year’s Modern Warfare 3.

While gamers have come to expect an annual Call Of Duty every fall for the last two decades, this year is an exceptionally important one for the series. First, this is the first Call Of Duty game to be released under the purview of Microsoft. The military shooter was one of the crown jewels in the company’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard last year.

The game has the potential to not only be a big hit for the company’s bottom line after the purchase, but a pivotal boon to the subscription service Xbox Game Pass. It will also be a barometer for whether the tech company, which recently shut down four of its own award-winning studios, can be a good herald for the popular series. Despite maintaining big sales year over year, Call of Duty has been losing players at a rapid pace.

2023’s Modern Warfare 3 was a series lowpoint.

Black Ops 6 also has a lot to prove to fans disappointed by last year’s entry. Modern Warfare 3 may have sold well since it was a glorified multiplayer update for the previous entry’s competitive modes. But its brief, boring single-player offering, despite having some great ideas, fell flat with fans and critics alike. Bloomberg reported that developer Sledgehammer Games was given half the typical development cycle for Call Of Duty, resulting in half-baked execution of its open-ended levels. The game netted a 56 average on Metacritic, the lowest in the entire series.

In terms of player reception, Black Ops 6 will be the most important game since 2017’s Call Of Duty: WWII. The 2017 entry, which took the series back to its 20th-century roots for the first time in nearly a decade, had a lot to prove at launch. It followed 2016’s Infinite Warfare, a bombastic sci-fi departure that was panned by fans who wanted a more traditional, contemporary game.

With so much on the line, it works in Microsoft and Treyarch’s favor that a new Black Ops entry is up to bat. The 14-year-old subseries is the best-selling in the franchise, beating out both of the Modern Warfare trilogies.

Whatever is in store for the next entry, we’ll likely hear more on June 9, when Xbox holds its Games Showcase, immediately followed up by a secret, redacted showcase. It’s widely believed that the second part of the presentation will be dedicated to what’s next for Call of Duty.

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