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This year's Call of Duty returns to WW2

And it's currently subtitled Vanguard.

This year's Call of Duty returns to World War 2, according to fresh reports in part verified by Eurogamer.

Modern Warzone reported this year's new Call of Duty is in development at Sledgehammer Games, maker of 2017's well-received Call of Duty: WW2, and is due out late 2021. Eurogamer sources have indicated this is indeed true.

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Modern Warzone also reports this game is codenamed Call of Duty WW2: Vanguard, and reports the name will be changed in the future. While this may indeed be the case, Eurogamer understands Activision's current plan is to stick with the Vanguard subtitle for the final version.

Modern Warzone also reports "the entire game takes place in an alternate timeline where 1945 wasn't the end of World War 2", and is set in the 1950s. Eurogamer understands this detail isn't quite right, and Vanguard has a traditional WW2 setting.

Call of Duty games tend to leak before they're officially-announced, and Eurogamer has verified Call of Duty leaks in each of the last five years. The headline this time around, though, is Call of Duty's return to World War 2. Vanguard will be just the second World War 2 Call of Duty released in the last decade, and comes after a Modern Warfare set in the present day, and a Black Ops Cold War game set during the 1980s.

An open question is whether Vanguard is set for integration with Warzone. Black Ops Cold War was announced within Warzone, and its integration into the battle royale, while suffering from significant problems, clearly boosted sales of Treyarch's shooter.

With Warzone set for a cataclysmic zombie-fuelled nuke event in the near future, one that reportedly will usher in a significant '80s-themed map change for Verdansk, the question is this: is Warzone set for a WW2-themed change in the future, too?

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Activision has yet to comment directly on the latest reports, but has confirmed plans to release a new Call of Duty game in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Speaking in February, Activision's chief financial officer Dennis Durkin said: "We will benefit from a full year of Warzone driving upgrades to our premium content and incremental in-game player investment, and we have a substantial opportunity to continue migrating the community to Black Ops Cold War as well as another strong premium release planned for Q4 in 2021."

It sounds like Activision does not expect Call of Duty WW2: Vanguard to sell as many copies and Black Ops Cold War, however. "In our outlook, we are conservatively assuming Call of Duty premium units are lower year-over-year," Durkin continued.

Sledgehammer and current Warzone custodian Raven Software were working together on 2020's Call of Duty before Treyarch was drafted in to lead development on what became Black Ops Cold War just two years after it released Black Ops 4. This broke the traditional three-year development cycle Activision had established with Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer. The explosive popularity of Warzone has of course altered Activision's way of thinking, with it now leading the Call of Duty charge on PC and consoles.

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