For the first time since 2004, it looks like Call of Duty will go a year without a mainline game in the series in 2023. According to a report from Bloomberg (opens in new tab), the Treyarch-developed Call of Duty game planned for 2023 will be delayed one year to 2024. The new Infinity Ward Modern Warfare sequel announced for this year is still on track, as are plans to release a sequel (opens in new tab) to the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone.
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Though it likely won't resemble a traditional Call of Duty game with a campaign and 6v6 multiplayer, Bloomberg's report does claim a "new free-to-play online" game will release in 2023. This is most likely referring to Warzone 2, which is primarily developed by Infinity Ward and promises a new "sandbox" mode.
The report also states that 2022's Modern Warfare sequel will receive two years of post-launch support to fill the gap left by the delay. Other than Warzone, Call of Duty games typically only receive one year's worth of new maps and modes before another CoD game comes along to essentially replace it.
Following Bloomberg's report, Activision issued a response to PC Gamer (also shared (opens in new tab) by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier) that doesn't strictly contradict anything claimed in the article: "We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond. Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right."
Non-denial denial statement from Activision spokesman: pic.twitter.com/T8TW3Ti8q5February 23, 2022
According to Bloomberg's sources familiar with the plan, the decision to delay can be attributed to Call of Duty: Vanguard (opens in new tab)'s disappointing sales. Lower than expected sales apparently led executives to "suspect that it had been cannibalized by the previous year’s game," which most likely refers to the continued popularity of Warzone. The standalone battle-royale-focused game has been updated concurrently for two years while Activision has also released new mainline CoD games, like 2020's Black Ops – Cold War and 2021's Vanguard. Now, it appears Treyarch will step aside for Warzone 2's release in 2023.
The sources also clarified that the delay is in no way related to Activision's sale to Microsoft for $69 billion.
With 19 mainline games under its belt and a 20th on the way in the fall, Call of Duty has kept quite the hot streak going and will not technically break it if Warzone 2 comes out in 2023.