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The Fate of Sledgehammer's CoD Game Explained (Somewhat)

Following the confirmation earlier this year of indications from a year ago that Sledgehammer Games was working on one of three upcoming Call of Duty games for Activision, comes word that Sledgehammer's CoD never made it out of the prototype stage, explaining why the team was shifted to work on the single-player portion of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The developer doesn't actually say their third-person Call of Duty action/adventure was cancelled, just that "the opportunity" to work on Modern Warfare 3 arose, and the studio accepted it. This comes in a Who is Sledgehammer Games GameSpot Video (thanks VG247) talking with Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, who were hired away from EA Redwood/Visceral Games in 2009 after helping create Dead Space (or as they refer to it,  "another game"). At around the 2:18 mark the clip explains what happened to their CoD project:

Narrator: "Sledgehammer Games' first title was intended to be an entirely new style of game set in the Call of Duty Franchise, a third-person action/adventure title. But as the structure of Activision's internal studios shifted, it was clear that the upcoming Modern Warfare 3 would need additional support in order to achieve the success that is expected of the series. The team at Sledgehammer Games was all too eager to answer that call."

Glenn Schofield: "Yeah, we came on board to make a third-person action/adventure game in the Call of Duty franchise, and, I don't know, we were working on it about six months?"

Michael Condrey: "Yeah, maybe a little longer. It was pretty exciting, I mean the idea of the sort of global appeal of Call of Duty meets sort of the third-person genre for the first time. And there are a lot of fans out there who enjoy games like uncharted, right? So you can imagine that genre meets a world-class franchise. Yeah, I think we had about six, eight months on that; we had a prototype together that was pretty compelling and looked really good, and then, you know, the opportunity to work on the biggest thing in the industry with a developer in Infinity Ward that's demonstrated that they know how to do exceptional software, was just an opportunity... A lot of people on the team had worked on Call of Duty before and first-person shooters before, so there was a lot of built-in knowledge about the first-person shooter genre and a lot of passionate gamers; there's guys on the floor that are on their tenth prestige on Black Ops, so it was a nice meeting of... a nice marriage of experience with the genre and fan desire to work on..."

Glenn Schofield: "It was pretty easy to steer the boat after we have the studio voted on 'do you want to work on this game?,' and once we all agreed on it and we just went in that direction."

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8. Re: The Fate of Sledgehammer's CoD Game Explained (Somewhat) Sep 2, 2011, 16:30 Jow
 
Financially I don't think there's any dispute. Gameplay-wise, I think there's a legitimate argument of the "cookie-cutter banality" variety. That they had the panache to create a cash cow they are now milking the shit out of does not automatically make it world-class.  
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