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Call of Duty 2014 to be developed by Sledgehammer

Call of Duty: Ghosts Screenshot - Sledgehammer Games

This year's Call of Duty game -- as in the new title that will arrive in November 2014 -- is being developed by Sledgehammer, not Treyarch as many had expected. Of course, no one probably predicted that Activision would switch Call of Duty to a three-year development cycle, a decision the publisher announced today.

Activision's hugely popular first-person shooter series was previously on a two-year development cycle with Infinity Ward and Treyarch alternating every other year. With Sledgehammer now in the mix, Activision hopes the quality of the series will improve. Call of Duty: Ghosts, despite great sales, was considered a step backwards in the series and received much more pedestrian reviews compared to its predecessors.

Sledgehammer was previously the co-developer for Modern Warfare 3, working in tandem with Infinity Ward. In a post-release conference call to investors, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said he expects Sledgehammer's Call of Duty game to be "one of if not the best" Call of Duty games ever.

As for the franchise's performance, Call of Duty was the top franchise in North America for the fifth consecutive year. Ghosts, specifically, was the number one best-selling title across all platforms in the U.S. and Europe combined. For the calendar year,  Black Ops 2 was the ninth best-selling title, despite releasing in 2012; it was played for over four billion hours in 2013.

Do you think the three-year development cycle will improve the quality of Call of Duty, or are its best days behind it?

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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