Information surrounding the next Call of Duty title remains much more limited than in previous years. This is, in part, a result of how Warzone's success, has caused Activision to adjust its approach to marketing the 2021 title. Like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, we're expecting to hear more later in the year, unfolding as an event within Warzone itself.
It's likely that any future information regarding the next Call of Duty title will tie into upcoming Warzone events. While it looks like we may have to wait longer for the official title, gameplay, or even a reveal trailer, we can still piece together the breadcrumbs of news and rumor while we wait.
Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard release date
With questions ahead of the next Call of Duty reveal, we naturally don't have an official release date, either. In a February 2021 call with investors, Activision Blizzard COO, Daniel Alegre, teased a "premium Call of Duty release" on track for a fall launch. Historically, Call of Duty titles traditionally launch midway through November. There were two exceptions to this, with both Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) releasing in October.
The end of 2021 looks to deliver an FPS-packed schedule thanks to the scheduled launches of Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite, so it's always possible that Activision wants to keep options open for potential release dates. The general expectation, though, is that we should be marking our calendars for a November 2021 release for Call of Duty 2021.
Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard trailer reveal
With the next Call of Duty game still to be unveiled, details on what's ahead of the title remain scarce. However, the success of Warzone has changed the way that Activision plans to handle future game trailers and announcements. The popularity of the standalone battle royale experience means that Call of Duty remains in the news cycle, alleviating the pressure on Activision to push out early reveals and trailers.
While there's currently no trailer for WWII Vanguard, data miners have uncovered references to a possible event for Season 4 of Warzone, potentially related to the official unveiling. It could be similar to how Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was revealed, which sent players on a map-wide scavenger hunt before concluding with the full debut trailer. Warzone remains an ideal platform to showcase the new Call of Duty entry with an interactive twist.
Warzone's Season 4 trailer details were shown off with a new trailer during Summer Game Fest, though unfortunately no new details for Vanguard were announced outside of further confirmation of Sledgehammer Games' role as lead developer. With the next season of Warzone expected to begin June 17 and a distinct lack of an official reveal, speculation has now moved toward Warzone's mid-season refresh as a potential reveal event.
Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard latest news and leaks so far
While we're yet to receive formal confirmation as to a title or setting for Call of Duty in 2021, ModernWarzone previously reported that Call of Duty's 2021 entry will be titled "Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard." Eurogamer later verified Vanguard as a working subtitle for the project through its own sources, likely to stick around until launch.
Despite Eurogamer's sources verifying Vanguard as the official working title, the end of June brought a surprise as the owner of an independent site known as BlizzTrack reported new assets had been uncovered with their tracker. The site's owner, Helba, tweeted that in addition to the new assets there was also a new logo featuring the title Slipstream.
It's important to note that this supposed title card for Slipstream doesn't feature the typical Call of Duty labeling. Helba has stated in additional tweets that Slipstream is also referred to as forea, which could be an indication of an upcoming alpha, and that "fore"/"forea" is specifically listed as COD2021.exe. However, the person behind BlizzTrack is the only individual who has seen this code.
With the codename Slipstream out of the bag, data miners and backend trackers have a new rabbit hole to fall down which may have been what lead to a tweet from charlieINTEL on July 1 indicating that Slipstream was also showing up on the PlayStation store's backend as an internal alpha with a 35GB file size. Activision has remained mum despite the leaks, and as always there's plenty of room for a healthy dose of skepticism until we get an official reveal.
In the February investor call, Activision confirmed that Sledgehammer Games would be the studio leading development on WWII Vanguard. Originally tapped to develop a third-person Call of Duty title set during the Vietnam War, the studio was pulled to help with Modern Warfare 3 back in 2010. Sledgehammer Games has since joined a leading trio for Call of Duty titles — developing Advanced Warfare in 2014, and WWII in 2017.
Sledgehammer Games has had a rocky past as a lead studio for Call of Duty. They struggled following the release of WWII, seeing founders and a slew of team members depart in the years post-launch. It was originally expected that 2020's Call of Duty title was to be released under Sledgehammer, but with a report from Kotaku claiming plans were scrapped. Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War later filled that spot in the schedule.
The reasoning behind the release shuffle seems to vary from "creative differences" between Sledgehammer Games and support studio Raven Software, all the way to rumors that Sledgehammer's title was simply a broken mess. Both studios ultimately ended up in supportive roles on Black Ops Cold War.
It does seem that Sledgehammer has been picking up the pieces, though, as they've gone on a hiring spree that brought more than 100 new members to the team. The studio has even expanded to a second office in Toronto. Following the official announcement that they would be responsible for Call of Duty in 2021, the Sledgehammer Games Twitter account posted a gif of WWE's The Undertaker emerging from a casket.
Even with this progress at Sledgehammer, Activision has actively put nearly every other studio under their banner on the Call of Duty grind. Even Toys for Bob, the studio that was previously responsible for the Spyro remaster and Crash Bandicoot, are now supporting Call of Duty: Warzone.
Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard battle royale: Expanding Warzone
With regard to Warzone, it has been confirmed by Activision that the newest Call of Duty will tie into the battle royale. There is speculation stemming from an article on VGC that WWII Vanguard will run on Infinity Ward's "IW8" engine, used across recent Call of Duty titles.
IW8 is also the engine that currently powers Warzone. This would make tying Warzone to the premium release a little easier. "If we look ahead for Warzone later this year, there will be some other really fun integration with the great work that Sledgehammer Games is leading for this year's new premium release," Activision president, Rob Kostich, stated during a May investor call.
VGC has also reported that this upcoming Call of Duty game will be revealed through an in-game Warzone event at some point before summer ends, though the exact timing is unknown.
Will Call of Duty: WWII Vanguard be available on Xbox One and PS4?
Activision has framed the next Call of Duty as a "next-generation experience" while boasting stunning visuals in the game's campaign, multiplayer, and co-op modes. There is currently no official word as to whether or not the game will be designed for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, or whether it will be limited only to next-gen consoles.
However, given Activision's track record supporting past consoles, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions are all but confirmed. It took the publisher three years to drop the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 from its Call of Duty launches, with similar compatibility expected. Reputable Call of Duty and Battlefield leakster Tom Henderson has also stated the future 2022 release from Infinity Ward will also retain support.
With next-generation consoles in tight supply amid ongoing chip shortages, and many late 2021 titles supporting previous-generation devices, don't worry about getting excluded anytime soon.