Information surrounding the next Call of Duty title remains much more limited than in previous years. This is, in part, a result of how Warzone’s success has caused Activision to adjust its approach to marketing the 2021 title. Like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, we’re expecting to hear more later in the year, unfolding as an event within Warzone itself.
It’s likely that any future information regarding the next Call of Duty title will tie into upcoming Warzone events. While it looks like we may have to wait longer for the official title, gameplay, or even a reveal trailer, we can still piece together the breadcrumbs of news and rumors while we wait.
Call of Duty: Vanguard release date
With questions ahead of the next Call of Duty reveal, we naturally don’t have an official release date, either. In a February 2021 call with investors, Activision Blizzard COO, Daniel Alegre, teased a “premium Call of Duty release” on track for a fall launch. Historically, Call of Duty titles traditionally launch midway through November. There were two exceptions to this, with both Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) releasing in October.
The end of 2021 looks to deliver an FPS-packed schedule thanks to the scheduled launches of Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite, so it’s always possible that Activision wants to keep options open for potential release dates. The general expectation, though, is that we should be marking our calendars for a November 2021 release for Call of Duty: Vanguard.
Call of Duty: Vanguard trailer reveal
Source: @CODTracker on Twitter
Following the PlayStation leak, the official Call of Duty twitter finally fessed up to the existence of Vanguard, confirming both the official title and that the full game reveal will take place as a Warzone event on Aug. 19. All of these confirmations were wrapped in with a bow and presented with a new teaser trailer that expanded upon four-second video clips that had trickled out to various international content creators over the previous weekend.
In addition to the trailer reveal, a new end game cutscene has been spotted in Warzone. In the clip originally posted to YouTube by user “AJ21 & Family” and shared on Twitter by CharlieIntel, the winning team can be seen exiting Verdansk via the helicopter as normal, but the final team member is abruptly dropped by a lone female sniper armed with a MosIn-Nagant, wearing a WW2-era uniform.
Source: @charlieINTEL on Twitter
Call of Duty: Vanguard latest news and leaks so far
Despite Eurogamer’s sources verifying Vanguard as the official working title, the end of June brought a surprise as an independent site known as BlizzTrack reported new assets had been uncovered via its tracker. The site’s owner, Helba, tweeted that in addition to the new assets there was also a new logo featuring the title Slipstream.
It’s important to note that this supposed title card for Slipstream doesn’t feature the typical Call of Duty labeling. Helba has stated in additional tweets that Slipstream is also referred to as forea, which could be an indication of an upcoming alpha, and that “fore”/”forea” is specifically listed as COD2021.exe. However, the person behind BlizzTrack is the only individual who has seen this code. There’s plenty of room for a healthy dose of skepticism here.
With the codename, Slipstream, out of the bag, data miners and backend trackers have a new rabbit hole to fall down which may have been what lead to a tweet from CharlieIntel on July 1 indicating that Slipstream was also showing up on the PlayStation store’s backend as an internal alpha with a 35GB file size.
While there hasn’t been any additional information or acknowledgment of Slipstream, there are still plenty of leaks to go around as data miners uncovered new images that were tied to the Season 5 update of Black Ops Cold War. The leaked images showed a potential title card image with the typical white Call of Duty title and “Vanguard” in red as the subtitle, along with images for the various editions (including a Cross-Gen bundle) that have become common for premium releases.
Source: Activision via @rdpgkellytv on Twitter
As of Aug. 12, both the official Call of Duty and Sledgehammer Games’ Twitter accounts have acknowledged the flood of leaks with various memes. Following a barrage of takedowns from Activision aimed at leakers who had shared datamined images with Call of Duty: Vanguard branding, the marketing department has seemingly leaned into the leaks with a steady release of teaser trailers among content creators in the community.
Content creator MrDalekJD recently tweeted that they had received a four-second video clip titled “Western Front”. Similarly, the Twitter account @CODTracker also shared an official teaser that had reportedly been received by an unnamed Russian content creator, followed by more clips from Australian and Indian content creators eventually being passed along to CharlieIntel.
Source: Activision via charlieINTEL on Twitter
Prolific leakers Tom Henderson and ModernWarzone have also had a lot to say about Vanguard as of late, including tweets that indicate we could see an official reveal as early as Aug. 19 with alphas and betas in rapid succession the following weeks. It’s all expected to gear up to a Nov. 5 release date, with the first season kicking off on Nov. 23.
Call of Duty: Vanguard developer: Sledgehammer Games is at the helm
In the February 2021 investor call, Activision confirmed that Sledgehammer Games would be the studio leading development on WWII Vanguard. Originally tapped to develop a third-person Call of Duty title set during the Vietnam War, the studio was pulled to help with Modern Warfare 3 back in 2010. Sledgehammer Games has since joined a leading trio for Call of Duty titles — developing Advanced Warfare in 2014, and WWII in 2017.
Sledgehammer Games has had a rocky past as a lead studio for Call of Duty. They struggled following the release of WWII, seeing founders and a slew of team members depart in the years post-launch. It was originally expected that 2020’s Call of Duty title was to be released under Sledgehammer, but with a report from Kotaku claiming plans were scrapped. Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War later filled that spot in the schedule.
It does seem that Sledgehammer has been picking up the pieces, though, as they’ve gone on a hiring spree that brought more than 100 new members to the team. The studio has even expanded to a second office in Toronto. Following the official announcement that they would be responsible for Call of Duty in 2021, the Sledgehammer Games Twitter account posted a gif of WWE’s The Undertaker emerging from a casket.
Even with this progress at Sledgehammer, Activision has actively put nearly every other studio under their banner on the Call of Duty grind. Even Toys for Bob, the studio that was previously responsible for the Spyro remaster and Crash Bandicoot, are now supporting Call of Duty: Warzone.
Call of Duty: Vanguard battle royale: Expanding Warzone
IW8 is also the engine that currently powers Warzone. This would make tying Warzone to the premium release a little easier. “If we look ahead for Warzone later this year, there will be some other really fun integration with the great work that Sledgehammer Games is leading for this year’s new premium release,” Activision president, Rob Kostich, stated during a May investor call.
An official reveal event for Call of Duty: Vanguard will be taking place in Warzone on Aug. 19, continuing the practice of driving hype for upcoming premium titles via the wildly successful free-to-play game.
Will Call of Duty: Vanguard be available on Xbox One and PS4?
Activision has framed the next Call of Duty as a “next-generation experience” while boasting stunning visuals in the game’s campaign, multiplayer, and co-op modes. There is currently no official word as to whether or not the game will be designed for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, or whether it will be limited only to next-gen consoles.
However, given Activision’s track record supporting past consoles, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions are all but confirmed. It took the publisher three years to drop the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 from its Call of Duty launches, with similar compatibility expected. Reputable Call of Duty and Battlefield leakster Tom Henderson has also stated the future 2022 release from Infinity Ward will also retain support. Additionally, images found by dataminers indicated that there would be a Standard Edition, Deluxe Edition, and Cross-Gen Bundle edition of Vanguard at launch.
With next-generation consoles in tight supply amid ongoing chip shortages, and many late 2021 titles supporting previous-generation devices, don’t worry about getting excluded anytime soon.