This year’s Call of Duty game is heading back to the series’s roots, Activision said in an earnings conference call Thursday, citing underwhelming sales of Infinite Warfare and negative feedback from fans about the game’s setting. Following the news, Kotaku reported that Activision Publishing (under Activision Blizzard) was laying off 5 percent of its workforce, including 20 people at Infinity Ward, the development team behind Infinite Warfare.
“Activision will take Call of Duty back to its roots and traditional combat will once again take centerstage,” Activision CFO Thomas Tippl said in the call.
The company did not elaborate on exactly what “back to its roots” or “traditional combat” entails for the franchise. It could mean that the next game will be set during World War II — the setting of the first three entries in the series.
The most recent game, Infinite Warfare, took the series into space and was set in the distant future.
Despite Call of Duty being the no. 1 franchise in North America for the eighth year in a row and the no. 1 console franchise globally for the seventh year over the past eight years, Infinite Warfare’s sales were apparently not satisfactory.
“Sales underperformed our expectations, and it’s clear that for a portion of our audience, the space setting just didn’t resonate,” Tippl said.