A fan-made COD client two years in the making has been suddenly and summarily squelched by Activision lawyers. SM² was a modding project that aimed to create a "Call of Duty client … with all new features, weapons, perks, streaks, maps, QOL changes and more," until one of its team members received a cease & desist letter from Activision last Wednesday.
Today, a team member received a Cease & Desist letter on behalf of Activision Publishing in relation to the sm² project. We are complying with this order and shutting down all operations permanently. Thank you all for your support over the past 2 years.May 17, 2023
SM² began life in 2021 as a way to make its creators' "dream Call of Duty game," a mish-mash of systems, maps and modes from a range of CODs. It seemed to be trucking along pretty well, too: Its most recent devblog update (now only available via the Wayback Machine after the Activision takedown) was from April 21, and informed fans that the project would be making the switch from the original Modern Warfare 2 engine to the Modern Warfare 2019 engine, "for technical reasons".
Given the proximity of that update to the C&D letter from Activision, it's hard not to think that something about the switch to the much newer engine ruffled the publisher's feathers somehow. After all, there are plenty of COD mods out there for older games that haven't been nixed so far.
The devblog also implored fans "Don't worry, we're not closing shop," which seems like an incredibly blunt bit of foreshadowing for an event which has, so far as I can tell, happened in real life.
Fans have, understandably, reacted unhappily to the mod's closure. Amid the seemingly infinite "press F to pay respects" gifs, the SM² audience has alternated between grief at the mod's passing and anger at Activision for killing it.
"This is just so sad, any chance we had of feeling that arcady style of call of duty again is gone," tweeted FortunateFL, "A fan developed call of duty was better than all the shit they’ve released in YEARS, so they shut it down".
The team behind Project Wraith, an indie FPS, tweeted that "a bunch of us were looking forward to this amazing communal effort by a passionate team. We're so, so sorry to hear this," and criticised big companies like Activision for their willingness to "destroy their own modding scene in the name of greed".
Finally, a Twitter user called jbowendaman succinctly summed up the fan mood with a tweet reading, "there goes our last chance at a good COD game".
If you're curious about what might have been, the SM² YouTube page is still live (for now), and you can see showcases of the guns and modes that would have populated the final mod. Those videos came out prior to the switch to the Modern Warfare 2019 engine, mind you, so they're a little out of date, but they are the closest we'll ever get to seeing SM² come to life.