The reboot nature of this fall’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will continue in 2020, according to rumors that gathered traction in social media and the games press this weekend.
As described, the game will be either Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 or simply Call of Duty: Black Ops; but it’ll be set in the Cold War era and include the Korean and Vietnam Wars in its stories. The first Call of Duty: Black Ops took place between 1961 and 1968 and intersected with the major military actions and political intrigues of that time.
The rumor comes from YouTube insider TheLongSensation, and it’s salient because they previously leaked the correct name of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare before it was officially revealed. And it somewhat aligns with an earlier and more in-depth report by Kotaku that said development on Call of Duty 2020, which was supposed to have been a Sledgehammer Games/Raven Software collaboration, had not gone so well. Treyarch is described as stepping in and moving up the next Black Ops game, which would ordinarily be expected in 2021.
Although “Call of Duty: Black Ops” is the same title as the 2010 shooter, there isn’t much of a player base either to confuse or cannibalize with a decade-old throwback title. Going back to the Cold War setting (subsequent Blops were set in 2025 and pushed forward from there) would also justify a reboot branding similar to this year’s no-frills name for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
It’s the “described as even more gritty and gruesome than Modern Warfare” that intrigues me. We don’t know exactly what that means because Modern Warfare doesn’t launch until Oct. 25. Activision has fig-leafed this M-rated franchise’s appeal to teenagers for years, and kids still get their hands on things a ton more violent. But all we need is a think-of-the-kids controversy in an election year over a sequence even more shocking than “No Russian.”