Activision plans to release new Call of Duty titles for the PC and consoles before the end of March 2006, CEO Ron Doornink told investors and analysts this week during a post-results conference call.
"We're pleased to announce that in fiscal 2006 [April 1st 2005 - March 31st 2006] we will launch two new Call of Duty products, one for the PC, and one for consoles," he said, having previously confirmed that a sequel was in development last July.
Activision offered no specifics on either project, although it's probably safe to say both are World War II themed first-person shooters. Probably.
The most likely scenario, whatever the content, is that Infinity Ward, developer of the first PC Call of Duty and now an Activision subsidiary, will be handling the PC version.
As to the console versions, however, there's plenty to speculate on. Last year, Infinity Ward advertised positions for experienced next-generation console engineers, and the suggestion is that the console versions mentioned this week could therefore be for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 2.
However Spark Unlimited, developer of Call of Duty: Finest Hour for PS2 and Xbox, had previously said that its deal with the publisher was "multi-year, multi-title". That leads us to suspect that Infinity Ward is handling the PC version while Spark is creating its own PS2 and Xbox titles for release in the same timeframe - before next April.
That would leave Infinity Ward clear to work on its own next-generation console titles for release at a later date.
Whatever. The point is that there are plenty of possibilities, and we probably won't know for sure what's being planned until Activision decides to announce the projects for real - perhaps at E3 this coming May.
Aside from sequel-specific talk, Doornink also said Activision believes that Call of Duty "has the potential to become our largest and most profitable franchise" - much as rival World War II shooter series Medal of Honor has been hugely important to Electronic Arts on the PC.