During a conference call to discuss 2016's fourth-quarter earnings, Activision executives told investors that this year's Call of Duty game will "take Call of Duty back to its roots."
The announcement occurred during discussion of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's disappointing sales numbers. Executives said the "space setting didn't resonate" with players and that Infinite Warfare "wasn't the success we planned."
"Traditional combat will once again take center stage" in 2017's Call of Duty. Executives did not define "traditional combat," which could mean battle systems centered on the franchise's WWII roots, or more modern or advanced tactics and ordnance as seen in 2007's Call of Duty 4 and 2014's Advanced Warfare.
This year's Call of Duty is being developed by Sledgehammer Games. The Call of Duty franchise rotates between three developers: Infinity Ward, the studio that created it; Treyarch, best known for Call of Duty 3 and the Call of Duty: Black Ops trilogy; and Sledgehammer, which released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in 2014 to critical acclaim and higher sales numbers than 2016's Infinite Warfare.
While critics and players were divided on its space-themed exploits, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare did resonate with Shacknews editor and Modojo editor-in-chief Brittany Vincent, who gave it an 8 out of 10 in her review. "While Infinity Ward might have played it a little too safe when it came to the competitive multiplayer mode, the improvements in the single-player campaign and Call of Duty: Zombies are substantial," she wrote. "The single-player campaign, in particular, hooked me, and I hope that future campaigns in the Call of Duty universe get the same care."