It seems that the statements from Bobby Kotick, the Chief Executive Officer of Activision, who said that he would like to see Call of Duty become more of a MMO experience, are one step closer to be turned into reality. Just as significant drama is playing out at main franchise developer Infinity Ward, the company is readying development on a massive multiplayer experience based around the very successful first person shooter.
A statement from Activision Blizzard says that it “is in discussions with a select number of partners to bring the franchise to Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for online multiplayer games in the world.” This suggests that the company is thinking about a free-to-play and microtransaction-based experience, the kind that gained a lot of popularity in Asia in the past years.
Philip Earl, the man who is in charge of the Asia Pacific division of Activision Publishing, is set to lead the new Call of Duty project. It's not clear when the game will be out and whether Activision is planning to bring it over to the West at some point.
The plan sounds oddly similar to what another big publisher, Electronic Arts, has done with its Need for Speed franchise. The company created two parallel series of traditional racing titles, one aimed at more casual gamers, the other at the more traditional hardcore audience, while also releasing a MMO-like experience in Asia.
The latest revelations come after two very important figures at Infinity Ward were ousted from the developer following a rather heated confrontation with leading figures from publisher Activision. Jason West, who was president of the developer and a co-founder, and Vince Zampella, who was Chief Executive Officer, are no longer involved with Infinity Ward although neither of them nor Activision seems to be interested in clearly spelling out the reasons for their falling out.