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Cancelled third person Call of Duty spin-off detailed

WWII shooter Devil's Brigade axed back in 2008.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

A third person Call of Duty game subtitled Devil's Brigade was nine months into development when Activision bosses decided to cancel the project, according to a new report.

As detailed by The Verge, the publisher apparently assembled a small team to work on the World War 2-set third person COD spin-off back in 2007 while the first Modern Warfare title was getting ready to launch.

The studio, which included three former EA developers - Jason VandenBerghe, Scott Bandy and Trevor Jalowitz - worked up a 15 minute "vertical slice" of a squad-based shooter set in Italy.

The game was apparently slower-paced and more strategic action than the series is now known for, and the demo featured squad commands and parkour moves.

"[The vertical slice] didn't have a whole lot of [cinematic moments]," explained designer James Schomer, "but I think a lot of that was planned. We were aware of the cinematic nature that Call of Duty was trending towards. But it was not part of the original demo. It was a 'this is what we're shooting for' sort of thing."

A few work-in-progress screens have found their way out - take a look below.

Although the demo received positive feedback and it appeared that the project was gaining momentum, it was "lost in the shuffle" following Activision's merger with Vivendi in December 2007 and was officially cancelled in March 2008.

VandenBerghe cited the high costs of developing in San Francisco, the team's unproven pedigree and the risks of launching an untested concept as some of the reasons Activision got cold feet.

"Here's what happened: We were ready for our final green light just as the merger with Vivendi/Blizzard was announced. As is normal in a merger, you do everything you can to clean up your balance sheet," added lead designer Kyle Brink.

"A studio that isn't in full production on a title with major revenue attached to it, which is about to ask for tens of millions in development dollars, is a great candidate for closure at that point. Was this also a way to keep IW happy after they had just produced Modern Warfare and made a hojillion dollars? Perhaps, but nobody ever put it to us that way."

Bandy and Jalowitz still work at Activision, Schomer is developing Starhawk at LightBox Interactive, Brink joined Sega and VandenBerghe is now creative director at Ubisoft, working on Far Cry 3.

This isn't the first time we've heard talk of a third person COD spin-off. Sledgehammer was working on a similar title before teaming up with Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 3.

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