With Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare now mostly behind it, video game publisher Activision is gearing up for the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 release. At least, that’s if a new teaser trailer about this year’s entry in the long-running first-person shooter franchise is any indication.
This week Activision posted a new trailer teasing the next entry in the Call of Duty franchise. To be clear, the teaser, which says we can expect more news about whatever is coming on April 26th, doesn’t specifically say that there’s a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 release in the works.
Instead, you hear different voice overs as words form what at first appear to be just lines on your screen. Before long the camera zooms out and we see what appears to be the roman numeral for two. Shortly before the alleged Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 release teaser ends we see what’s on screen transform into the roman numeral for three. What appears to be a tagline for the game is used as the video’s name on YouTube. The video is called “Back in Black.”
Back in Black has to be a reference to a coming Black Ops 3 release.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was a high-water mark for the entire franchise. Launched in 2012, Black Ops 2 marked Call of Duty’s formal ascendancy into the most popular gaming franchise ever. Within a week the game destroyed records for the biggest entertainment launch of all time. It total it racked up $500 million in sales. It only held onto that title for a year though. It was surpassed a year later by Grand Theft Auto 5. 2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts nor last year’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare games managed to surpass Black Ops 2 in sales.
A potential Black Ops 3 release comes at a very interesting time for both Activision and the video game industry. Again, later games in the series have never managed to surpass the record Black Ops 2 set. In fact, direct sequels for video games have increasingly come under fire from critics.
The Call of Duty franchise was among the first to embrace yearly releases. Each calendar a new entry in the franchise arrives forcing fans to either adopt the new game in the series or risk being left with less hard-core players. Additionally, some reviewers feel as if forcing a yearly release schedule ruins the story mode. In particular, Call of Duty games have been criticized for having terrible stories lately. In one game some even noticed a reused cut scene from a prior version of Call of Duty. Advanced Warfare was the first in recent memory to not be on the receiving end of that criticism.
Fans are worried about their favorite franchises because they think a yearly release hurts the quality of the game they receive itself. Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity was the latest in a series of games that felt undercooked. Most pointed to its yearly release schedule as the core problem. However fair a criticism that is remains unclear since titles in the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchise spends roughly three years in development before they ever see the light of day.
If Activision, the game’s publisher, stays true to its pattern we’ll see a trailer and light details for a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 release on April 26th, a full reveal of the game during this years Electronic Entertainment Expo and a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 release date this November on the Xbox One and PS4. We could see a release for the Xbox 360 and PS3 too, but it’s also possible Activision could use the game as an opportunity to push players to Microsoft and Sony’s newer gaming systems.