Activision shakes up development for next Call of Duty, giving Treyarch the reins on Black Ops 5 and pushing release date up to 2020


Major changes to Activision’s plans for the next Call of Duty title are happening behind the scenes, according to a report by Kotaku. Game design studios Sledgehammer and Raven, which had previously been in charge of the project, will now be playing second fiddle to Treyarch as the studio develops Black Ops 5 for a 2020 release.

Since Treyarch was the studio behind last year’s Black Ops 4, many observers expected them to take a back seat to Activision’s other lead design studios, as has been the company’s practice in past years. However, per Kotaku’s report, tensions between Sledgehammer and Raven have led the development of the next CoD title to slow down, and Treyarch is swooping in for the save.

Fun Fact: Treyarch has produced every Call of Duty: Black Ops title so far, with Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer switching off on the series’s Warfare titles.

Moving forward, the work that Raven and Sledgehammer have done on the upcoming title will be transformed into a single-player story-mode campaign for Black Ops 5, while Treyarch will take the reins for the bulk of the game design, pushing its release date forward to next year. This truncated development schedule might lead to some all-nighters over at Treyarch headquarters, but the fact that the game is another iteration of Black Ops may allow the developers to save time by reusing older assets.

As Activision moves forward on the development of a retooled and city-based Call of Duty World League for next year, the upcoming Black Ops title will likely be the primary form of CoD contested by the new league. Much of the league’s success will ride on Treyarch’s ability to put together a product that is both balanced and entertaining—but with Black Ops 4 in their resume already, the studio is up to the task.