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After disappointing 'Infinite Warfare' sales, Call of Duty will go back to its roots

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Last year, the Call of Duty franchise drifted closer to out-and-out sci-fi than ever before with the release of Infinite Warfare. It seems that this year’s follow-up will course-correct toward something altogether more traditional, based on comments made this week during an investor call hosted by its publisher, Activision. Apparently, the series is set to go “back to its roots.”

Thomas Tippl, Activision’s chief operating officer, noted that Infinite Warfare didn’t live up to the company’s sales expectations. In December 2016, it was reported that the game had sold significantly less copies than its immediate predecessor, Black Ops III. “It’s clear that for a portion of our audience, the space setting just didn’t resonate,” said Tippl, according to a report from Polygon.

The company’s CEO, Eric Hirshberg, was also on hand to note that fans did respond positively to many of the gameplay innovations present in Infinite Warfare. However, he agreed that the futuristic setting didn’t appeal to many of the franchise’s most ardent fans.

These comments add fuel to speculation that Call of Duty will head back to the past for its next installment. DICE pulled off a similar shift in setting for last year’s Battlefield 1, and the game went on to become a huge hit.

The Call of Duty series started out with a focus on World War II, but when audiences grew tired of that setting, the action was moved to the modern era. This led to installments like Modern Warfare and the original Black Ops, which many consider to be examples of the franchise at its peak.

Whether a return to its roots means World War II specifically — or just an earlier conflict than the futuristic setting of Infinite Warfare — is still up in the air — but Activision knows exactly where the series is headed, as this year’s installment was given the green light two years ago.

Thankfully, fans won’t have to wait too long before they find out more about what 2017 has in store for the Call of Duty franchise. Each new installment tends to be unveiled in the spring, so expect to hear more about this year’s game over the next few months.

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