So, why did Call of Duty: Vanguard fail? Activision knows best

Call of Duty: Vanguard, it should have been the majestic reprise of a proper World War 2 CoD. But the fact is that the first-person shooter wasn’t exactly performing the way Activision would’ve liked. Even if it sold okay, the publisher still believes it wasn’t having ‘its finest hour’ with Vanguard. The question that remains is “why?”, and Activision believes it knows the answer.

In its annual report, Activision reflected on Call of Duty: Vanguard and its general performance. Even if sales numbers didn’t show for it – because those were pretty damn good overall – it failed to meet the expectations on several occasions. Players pretty much found it ‘meh’ and Activision’s feelings matched the player’s opinion in the end. According to the publisher, that’s mostly on them.

“While Call of Duty remains one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time, our 2021 premium release didn’t meet our expectations, we believe primarily due to our own execution.

“The game’s World War II setting didn’t resonate with some of our community and we didn’t deliver as much innovation in the premium game as we would have liked.”

Now, we’re seeing two things here and one of them is dead-on. Yes, Call of Duty: Vanguard desperately needed more “innovation”, or as I would like to call it: “variation” or “inspiration”. Vanguard’s single-player campaign was about as inspiring as reading the yellow pages. A WW2 shooter doesn’t need innovation, per sé. You’re dealing with an 80-year-old economy-crippling war setting, there wasn’t really anything to innovate back then.

The other so-called culprit – the WW2 setting – is harder to process. Let’s face it, we shooter fans love World War 2. We’ll have it shoved down our pipes and day of the week, like gravy on Thanksgiving. But it feels like nobody really understands what a good WW2 shooter is about anymore. We’ve been begging studios to grant us some WW2 awesomeness, and what we keep getting is WW2 mediocrity.

Oh well, for Activision, the gaze is fixed on modern warfare, literally. Modern Warfare 2 should make us forget about Vanguard in a heartbeat. At least, that’s what Activision hopes. Just take that pill, bite down on it, and Vanguard’s memory will go bye-bye in 3…2…1…

“We are certainly addressing both of these issues with the 2022 launch. Development on the 2022 premium and Warzone experiences is being led by Activision’s renowned Infinity Ward studio.

“We are working on the most ambitious plan in Call of Duty history, with over 3,000 people now working on the franchise and a return to the Modern Warfare setting that delivered our most successful Call of Duty title ever.”

Ah yes, “the most ambitious plan in Call of Duty history”. I’ve heard promises like that before. Tell me, Activision, does this sound familiar?

This is the most connected Call of Duty ever, all powered by the next generation Call of Duty® engine introduced in Modern Warfare®.

This is Call of Duty®: Vanguard.