Call of Duty: Vanguard underperformed for Activision, and the publisher reckons that’s partly because some people just don’t care about World War 2.
In its 2021 annual financial report (opens in new tab) (spotted by Kotaku (opens in new tab)), Activision affirmed that Vanguard “didn’t meet our expectations, we believe primarily due to our own execution.” The company says it did not deliver “as much innovation in the premium game as we would have liked,” but also attributes some of the game’s mixed reception to its setting.
“The game’s World War II setting didn’t resonate with some of our community,” the report reads. It also claims that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the series’ next mainline installment which is still scheduled for the latter half of 2022, will address “both of these issues.”
While largely unmentioned in this report, several other factors likely contributed to Vanguard’s poor sales, which even spawned rumors that Activision may push up Modern Warfare 2’s release date, seemingly to compensate.
Though it earned high marks for its great set pieces, stunning visuals, and solid multiplayer in our Call of Duty: Vanguard review, CoD’s latest became one of the most troubled Call of Duty games in recent memory, weathering multiple delays for its seasonal content and ranked mode, as well as a staggered rollout for its Zombies content.
The lead-up to its launch was also disrupted by the ongoing Activision Blizzard lawsuit and investigations, which were first sparked in July 2021. In the following months, QA developers at Warzone studio Raven Software, which jointly oversaw the unified Call of Duty seasons, went on strike for nearly eight weeks.
Activision maintains that Call of Duty: Warzone 2, the next chapter in the battle royale, will also deliver “groundbreaking innovations.”