Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

2022’s biggest video game reveals have been a bummer so far

The announcement of 2022’s Call of Duty was always going to feel weird. Over the last year, Activision Blizzard has been scrutinized over horrific sexual harassment allegations, turned Call of Duty: Warzone into a glitchy and bloated mess, and was acquired by Microsoft. But I wasn’t expecting its reveal to be this sloppy.

Activision Blizzard previously mentioned that Infinity Ward was making a new Call of Duty. Then, at 1 p.m. ET on February 11, enthusiast Call of Duty websites and content creators posted that Activision told them that Modern Warfare 2 and a reworked Warzone with a sandbox mode are on the way. There was no official word on these claims for about 15 minutes, but Activision eventually confirmed them… in the footnotes of a blog post. Its reveal lacked excitement, was confusing, and dodged the biggest questions surrounding Activision Blizzard.

Six weeks into 2022, this is just the latest example of a AAA publisher announcing a huge game with little fanfare. But why have AAA publishers dropped the pomp and circumstance of their game reveals? 

Soldier in Modern Warfare.
Activision wants you to know that 2022’s Call of Duty is a sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare and on a new engine. Image used with permission by copyright holder

For the fans

Previously, a trailer, press release, and detailed info about what players could expect accompanied Call of Duty game announcements. In recent years, it even happened inside Call of Duty: Warzone! We weren’t so lucky this time and had to deal with a flurry of enthusiasts and leakers claiming to have new information about the game with no good way to verify its truthfulness.

Earlier this week, there was reportedly a call where Activision and Infinity Ward revealed the new information on this game, but it seems to have been attended almost solely by enthusiast sites and content creators. Even the most prominent gaming sites like IGN and GameSpot didn’t seem privy to the news beforehand.

This announcement was made by the fans before Activision even confirmed it. Based on the coverage from those in attendance, it doesn’t seem like content creators asked the tough questions about the status of Activision Blizzard’s workplace, how the acquisition affects these games, and the reasoning behind Activision Blizzard’s decision making (perhaps they did and Activision refused to comment, but we’ll likely never know).

By announcing it this way, Activision Blizzard circumvents having to answer hard questions about the company’s current state, gets free press from its fans, and gets ahead of the leaks, reports, and rumors that have occurred since the Microsoft acquisition. Activision built a mostly positive — if oddly rolled out — reveal narrative for the new Call of Duty that doesn’t have much substance.

While other announcements this year haven’t felt as malicious, they still lacked a certain flair that we’ve come to expect.

Rockstar announced Grand Theft Auto 6 in the footnotes of a GTA series blog post. Respawn Entertainment announced three new Star Wars games, including a sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, through a tweet and press release light on additional details. Even Blizzard did it just a few weeks ago with a survival game blog post reveal that called the game “unannounced” in its announcement. None of them had trailers (Crytek got this right with Crysis 4). AAA games are being announced very early with minimal assets and information, making these unveils much less impactful.

Respawn Entertainment is working on three Star Wars games with EA and Lucasfilm.
This is the only asset EA released alongside its Respawn Entertainment Star Wars announcement. Image used with permission by copyright holder

For the company 

As I previously discussed when Rockstar announced GTA 6, these reveals aren’t really about the fans — they are about the investors and potential hires. Activision first discussed 2022’s Call of Duty in a financial results report. GTA 6, the Respawn Star Wars deal, and the Blizzard survival game were announced ahead of earnings reports from their respective companies. The latter two were tied to recruitment calls for their respective developers.

The gaming industry is in the middle of an acquisition craze, and studios are reportedly struggling to recruit great talent. Announcing video games in a nonchalant way helps address both of those issues. Games that are almost guaranteed to be hits please current investors and entice potential buyers. Meanwhile, some developers might be more willing to jump ship from their current employer and work for someone else if they know exactly what they’re working on. If some fans get hyped and don’t ask tough questions, that’s just a positive side effect.

These publishers are putting the bare minimum into reveals and yielding the greatest results. And if this strategy generates enough buzz and keeps working, this might become the norm outside of events like E3, or individual showcases like Nintendo Directs, where fans expect game developers to go all out.

I’m not frustrated because I’m not getting flashy reveals. It’s that these announcements all seem more focused on drip-feeding the minimal amount of info so that studios can drive up profits, circumvent criticism, and please investors without sharing anything of substance. As a fan of games, that makes it challenging to care about big projects that should have me excited.

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
A Nintendo cult classic is getting a surprising spiritual successor
A robot waters a flower in koRobo.

koROBO announcement trailer (Chibi-Robo spiritual successor)

GameCube cult classic Chibi-Robo! is getting a revival. Ex-staff from Chibi-Robo! developer Skip announced a new studio on Friday to make a spiritual successor called koROBO that looks very much like its predecessor -- down to its premise. But there are some big promised changes.

Read more
Dell saved its best gaming laptop deal for after Prime Day
The Dell G16 gaming laptop.

Prime Day deals have already ended, but Dell keeps rolling out gaming laptop deals that catch our attention. Here's an offer that's going to be hard to refuse -- the Dell G16 gaming laptop with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card for only $1,000, following a $500 discount on the device's original price of $1,500. We're not sure how much time is left before you miss the chance to take advantage of this bargain though, so we highly recommend proceeding with the purchase as soon as possible.

Why you should buy the Dell G16 gaming laptop
The Dell G16 gaming laptop is a fantastic choice for gamers who are sticking to a tight budget, because it will let you play the best PC games without breaking the bank. In addition to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card, the device is powered by the 13th-generation Intel Core i9 processor and 16GB of RAM, which is the preferred minimum amount according to our gaming laptop buying guide. The Dell G16 also ships with a 1TB SSD, which is a lot of storage space for your video games, and with Windows 11 Home pre-loaded, you can start installing your favorite titles right after you unbox the gaming laptop.

Read more
This Final Fantasy 14 bubble tea promotion is causing quite a stir
Featured image shot of WoL looking to the sky

If you like boba tea and Final Fantasy 14, we have good news. Square Enix is offering a deal where buying bubble tea will net you a flying pig for your in-game character. And it's causing a bit of a frenzy.

The promotion was announced on Wednesday. If you live near a Gong Cha, a franchise known for its boba and milk tea, you have the chance to score either a cute bubble-tea-themed keychain, or an in-game Porxie King mount. That's basically an adorable pig with Dumbo ears. The promotion started on July 17 and will last until August 28.

Read more