Sledgehammer Games reportedly wanted to make Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 2
Sledgehammer Games is said to have wanted to make a sequel to its futuristic 2014 Call of Duty entry, Advanced Warfare, before being forced to work on Modern Warfare III.
According to a Bloomberg report (via CharlieIntel), the Sledgehammer team proposed Advanced Warfare 2, codenamed Anvil, as the next COD title to be released after Vanguard in 2021. It’s said that the project was shelved after publisher Activision informed the studio that it would instead develop on MW3.
The original AW was released in 2014 to mixed reviews, as it was the first COD title to introduce "advanced movement" through the use of exo suits. Exo suits allowed players to double jump into the air and dash in all four directions midair, causing a divide in the playerbase as some saw it as the developers widening the skill gap, while others felt it didn't feel like a COD game. The series would go on to build its movement with Black Ops 3 and Infinite Warfare before returning to its roots with WW2.
The majority of fan reactions to this news have been negative, with many stating that they would have preferred AW2 over a "lazy reskin" like MW3. Others have also pointed out that AW2 was allegedly planned prior to the release of Infinite Warfare, but backlash to the game drove Activision to return to more traditional gameplay.
The studio's developers also claimed that MW3 was originally conceived as DLC for MW2, with the team given only 16 months to produce the title. Another COD developer, Infinity Ward, was said to have been required to approve changes made in MW3, resulting in the denial of some fan-favorite systems.
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