This year, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will break new ground for the FPS franchise as it relocates the action to a far-future conflict taking place across our Solar System. However, the series almost took a turn for the unusual back in 2008, with an installment set in ancient Roman times.
At that time, Modern Warfare had just launched, and Activision was interested in exploring a potential spin-off. One of the pitches the company received was code-named “Roman Wars,” and would have cast players as a member of Julius Caesar’s Tenth Legion, according to a report from Games Radar.
The project was being developed by Vicarious Visions, the studio best known for its work on the Skylanders series. However, back in 2008, the team had most recently been working on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2,and so it used a similar top-down camera for their proposed Call of Duty spin-off.
However, the game was intended to switch back and forth between perspectives depending on what sort of gameplay was being served up by individual missions — which could range from riding into the Battle of Alesia atop a war elephant, to engaging in gladiatorial combat in the arena.
Like other Call of Duty games, “Roman Wars” would have had players jump back and forth between different characters to gain a full view of the conflict at hand. Apparently, there were even plans for a mission where Julius Caesar himself was the protagonist.
Unfortunately, “Roman Wars” never came to pass, as Activision CEO Bobby Kotick soured on using the Call of Duty brand on a game that was so different from the core series. The project was later presented to Ubisoft as an original IP, but the French publisher passed.
Of course, this year’s iteration of the Battlefield series is set to explore a historical setting — albeit only going as far back as the early 20th century. Perhaps if Infinite Warfare underperforms, we’ll see Activision reconsider a Call of Duty title set in the past.