Call of Duty Vanguard Might be the First Game in a new COD Trilogy
The Call of Duty Franchise spans more than 17 mainline games and a handful of titles for mobile and handheld devices. However, if there’s any constant in the world, it’s the fact that there’s always going to be a Call of Duty title every single year. While there are three developers currently working on each title, giving each developer more time to polish and make a title that’s up to par, fans of the series are a little concerned about the next Call of Duty title. With 3 weeks until Call of Duty Vanguard comes out, something mentioned by Sledgehammer points to the fact that players are going to be seeing a whole new trilogy of games. Vanguard is taking players back into the time of World War 2, opting for a more historical fiction take on the series. This isn’t new for Call of Duty games, as other titles like Black Ops, and Modern Warfare put their own spin on the series, however, it seems like there’s going to be more than meets the eye when it comes to the game’s plans for the future.
What Does Vanguard’s Future Look Like?
The thing that made the original Modern Warfare and Black ops stand out was the fact that the games were stories that continued on past the original title, turning the stories into sub-series within Call of Duty as a franchise. Modern Warfare told the story of Captain Price and his fight against the Russian Terrorist Makarov after killing the main antagonist of the first title Zakhaev. Black Ops told the story of Alex Mason, who was brainwashed by the Russians in the cold war to become a sleeper agent and had to relive his memories to bring the antagonists down. The series would then continue onward into the future, bringing together more characters who were still tied to the main cast from the original story. While they’re two separate ways of telling a story, the games brought themselves loyal fans, and these sub-series were treated as separate from one another, making the Call of Duty series feel special. Now, in the age of reboots and remakes, these two series have been relegated to being nostalgia bait for fans, with the reboot of Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War.
Sledgehammer’s Plans for Vanguard
However, it seems that the newest title in the series, Call of Duty Vanguard is aiming to change that. In a comic-con panel posted online yesterday, the developers of Cod Vanguard spoke about developing the characters for the series. Sam Maggs had this to say about the title. “We came into this process saying ‘how do we make an iconic COD character?’ because we don’t really have that in Call of Duty right now ya know?” She then continues, stating “When you think about a game like Halo, you think of Master Chief, but when you think about Call of Duty, you don’t have that. We came into this thinking ‘who could be our sort of “flagship COD characters?” because we want to make Vanguard 2 and Vanguard 3.“
For those who want the full context, the whole hour-long video is posted on Youtube, this quote comes from the 43 Minute mark.
Maggs says that there are no “Flagship COD” characters, however, as previously mentioned, the reboots of Modern Warfare and Black Ops have brought back those flagship characters from the series. When players think of Call of Duty, they think of characters like Captain Price, Ghost, Soap, Roach, Alex Mason, Woods, Hudson, Weaver, Richtofen, Dempsey, Nikolai, Takeo, Maxis, Sam, Makarov, Shepard, Kravchenko, Zakhev, and more. It’s safe to say that the Call of Duty series is filled with incredible characters from the sub-series made by Infinity Ward and Treyarch, and while they’re not what they used to be, the impact left by these series is larger than most of the FPS franchises.
Call of Duty has become so culturally relevant that some of the series’ biggest moments have been turned into memes that players will share online. “The Numbers Mason! What do they mean?!” is a meme that’s been posted hundreds of times, Shepard’s Betrayal in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is something that players have looked fondly upon for years. Treyarch’s Zombies mode from World at War to Black Ops 4 has a continuous story from the inception of the mode to just a few years ago, totaling 10 years of content and using the same four characters that Anyone who’s seen the faces of Nikolai, Takeo, Dempsey, and Richtofen, will immediately know who they are. Treyarch even put Richtofen in the ending of Cold War’s Zombies mode.
On top of all of this, the COD Mobile game, while not canon, has been making what could be equated to fanfiction of the series during their seasons with comics depicting Ghost and Tank Dempsey as friends until Dempsey is ultimately killed, and Ghost Grieves his loss, wondering if he could have saved him.
Needless to say, there’s no shortage of Flagship characters, and with their legacy, it’s going to be a long road before Vanguard is going to be put their new characters in the good graces of the fans.
Vanguard is starting off with a whole new story, and if these characters are being brought into the limelight for the first time, it’s going to be a long way up before these characters can reach the status of the aforementioned Call of Duty heroes.
This extends even further from the main campaign for Vanguard as well. Seeing that they’re trying to start their own series, hoping to make a Vanguard 2 and 3, they’re going to have a long road with not only their campaign but their zombies as well.
Vanguards Possible Fates
From the footage shown for the campaign, the game is planned to be an action blockbuster, and they’re working tirelessly to make sure the campaign is up to snuff with the other Call of Duty titles, now, they’re already planning ahead, and looking to the future. This is something that’s happened to Sledgehammer’s previous game, Call of Duty World War 2, which was aimed to be more of a “Saving Private Ryan” kind of story, while they didn’t succeed, and the game fell into obscurity, players are wondering if the same fate is going to befall Call of Duty Vanguard. A similar situation happened with Call of Duty Ghosts, the first game to be sold cross-console generations. The game was aimed to have a sequel if the ending credits scene was anything to go by, but Ghosts 2 never saw the light of day. The next game from Infinity Ward, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare became one of the most disliked titles with its reveal trailer.
Another thing to consider with the game’s development is the fact that the Zombies story is going to be tied to Cold War’s story, focusing on the Dark Aether. The story is going to be a prequel to the previous title’s zombies mode. The game is also going to take a spin on the zombies story, focusing on the occult part of the Dark Aether Timeline, while still being a prequel. With the reveal of zombies happening, more information about the Zombies Launch is going to be revealed soon, but the fact that the zombies mode is going to be tied to Cold War’s is going to hurt Vanguards supposed attempt at becoming its own sub-series in the Call of Duty Franchise.
There’s also one more massive glaring issue for Vanguard’s success, however, there’s a possibility that it could work to their benefit.
Call of Duty is attempting to mesh every single sub-series into one cohesive universe, which means that characters from Modern Warfare, Black Ops, and Possibly Vanguard are going to be put into the same Universe. According to Warzone’s new updates, it seems that the game is going to get an update based on the Pacific theatre. This means that Vanguard is going to become part of this amalgamated universe.
However, with Sledgehammer’s endeavors to make a Call of Duty that stands out, they’re going to be held back by the fact that they’re going to have to share the limelight between Modern Warfare and Black Ops. This means that they’re going to lose this immense individuality between the characters from the beginning.
Being that they’re sharing not only their world, but their Zombies story, there’s not much room for individuality, and being that many players are worried about the state of COD, especially since the game is going up against not only Battlefield 2042 this year but also Halo Infinite in December, it’s going to be a tough fight for the game if it wants to make any sort of splash.
On top of all of this, it’s a new IP, and Sledgehammer is already thinking about making a sequel to this story, they’re going to have to prove their might against the other two titans of FPS games before they even think about getting a sequel. However, if they’re wanting to establish flagship characters with Call of Duty Vanguard, they’re bringing their characters into the Call of Duty Cinematic universe, and this by default might give them the opportunity to convince Activision that they cannot abandon their characters for the greater COD Universe unless they risk losing the cohesion they’ve been trying to achieve with making the expanded universe.
One thing is for certain however, the Zombies mode is going to be something that the series is going to have to reference in later titles, being that Treyarch has a hand in the story, and is tying it into the new Cold War Dark Aether story, the game is going to have to include parts of the story in their next game.
So looking to the bright side of this title, it’s no surprise that they’re going to have some foothold with their title, however, it’s unwise to put all of the eggs in one basket for a brand new IP, only the sales from the fans are going to decide the fate of the Call of Duty series.