Activision considered making a Call of Duty game set in ancient Rome

A new report reveals that Activision considered making Call of Duty: Roman Wars for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This wild spin-off of Activision's popular franchise would have mixed first and third-person combat and it would have been set in ancient Rome, but it never got past the prototype stage.

GamesRadar+ reports that the game was being made by a team at Activision-owned studio Vicarious Visions. The article includes a blurry video of a prototype for Call of Duty: Roman Wars that was used as the team's main presentation. The game itself would have followed a soldier assigned to Julius Caesar's Tenth Legion, One of the article's sources, who calls himself "Polemus" stated:

"I really thought an ancient warfare game would do well, re-skinned with the Call of Duty engine," says Polemus. "Basically we were following Julius Caesar's Tenth Legion – his special forces during those times - and we were doing a one level prototype based on the Battle of Alesia. So we built the one mission based on that. We had everything from riding horses, to riding an elephant, to working with catapults. All done in the Unreal Engine for rapid prototyping".

The prototype for the game was completed and shown to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. While Call of Duty: Roman Wars got a good reception, the decision was later made not to go ahead with the project, because it deviated too much from the Call of Duty branding. If the game had gone forward, it would have been released in 2013. Ironically, Microsoft and Crytek released their own ancient Roman action game, Ryse, as a launch title for the Xbox One in 2013.

John Callaham