This three-year cycle saw Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games alternate releases every year. Case in point, in 2014, Sledgehammer Games released Advanced Warfare, which Treyarch followed up with Black Ops III in 2015, with Infinity Ward closing the cycle in 2016 with Infinite Warfare.
If we were to go by this cycle, Sledgehammer Games should have been at the helm of the recently-released Black Ops Cold War.
Unfortunately, that was not the case, with the project being handled by Treyarch instead.
This, then, puts the future of Call of Duty, specifically, Call of Duty 2021 (whatever it might end up being called), in question.
Which Studio Is Going to Work on Call of Duty 2021?
Sledgehammer Games last worked on and released a Call of Duty title back in 2017 with WWII.
Unfortunately, following the game's release, the studio encountered numerous issues in 2018, which all culminated in multiple studio heads taking their leave with numerous employees following suit.
The good news is that the studio has since started to rebuild itself, welcoming as many as 150 new developers in 2020.
So, does this mean that Sledgehammer Games is working on Call of Duty 2021? Not exactly.
For now, all we can do is speculate.
Will There be a Call of Duty 2021?
Yes. There will be a Call of Duty 2021 game.
Activision has finally confirmed the existence of the follow-up to Black Ops Cold War in a recent investor call, with company executives stating that Activision is working on launching a new "premium experience" to the franchise later in 2021.
With the 3-year cycle between Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch, and Infinity Ward now broken though, we don't have any idea who is going to work on Call of Duty 2021.
Activision themselves also did not announce anything specific outside of confirming that Call of Duty 2021 does indeed exist.
If we were to go by their usual timeline, we probably don't have to wait too long to find out. Activision usually releases a trailer for their Call of Duty games sometime in May, with the sole exception being Black Ops Cold War (August), with the game launching some five to six months later.
While so much remains uncertain, what we can expect is for Call of Duty 2021 to run in parallel to Call of Duty: Warzone.
This, along with the game's existence, was confirmed by Activision's President, Rob Kostich, in the same investor call, referring to Warzone's continued success as "central" to the franchise's future.