2021 is shaping up to be a momentous year for first-person shooter games. It marks the first year in the history of video games that there will be new mainline games for Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo all releasing in the same year. It’s an exciting proposition for fans of FPS games, as each franchise is currently sitting at an important stage of their respective legacies. These franchises may be considered the “old guard” of the FPS space, but each has grown and evolved in recent years to the point where all three releasing in one year is a kind of dream come true for fans and they could help the industry propel itself to new heights this year.
Call of Duty
Call of Duty has never been bigger or more popular, and this momentum is expected to continue in 2021. If history and the previous cadence of development schedules tells us anything, it is that this new game is likely coming from Sledgehammer Games. Whatever the new game is, it will be released into a vastly changed Call of Duty landscape, thanks in part to the success of the free-to-play battle royale game Warzone. Activision has said that Warzone will be the that ties together the annual premium Call of Duty releases. So you can expect CoD 2021 to have crossover content with Warzone, with the likely bet being that weapons from CoD 2021 will come to Warzone to mix up the flavor and add a new meta. This integration did not go so smoothly with Black Ops Cold War in December, but this was an unprecedented shift, and some teething issues were always expected. Overall, however, Call of Duty is in a great place today with unified progression across Warzone and Black Ops (and later CoD 2021), free multiplayer maps, and near-constant updates and patches that change the meta regularly.
On an earnings call, Activision management said . That makes sense, given Sledgehammer is not known for creating or developing any of the most successful Call of Duty sub-brands, and 2021 will be a difficult comparison year for every annualized franchise because sales in 2020 were bolstered significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, CoD 2021 is still expected to be a juggernaut and will likely end the year as one of the best-selling games in the US and other parts of the world.