Call of Duty reenlisting for PCs, consoles

Activision is planning follow-ups to Infinity Ward's best-selling WWII shooter; CEO says the series may become the publisher's "most profitable franchise."

Although today's Activision conference call disappointed gamers with news that the upcoming Doom 3 Xbox port and PC expansion have been delayed, it contained a pleasant surprise as well. Ronald Doornink, the publisher's CEO, announced that it is planning a sequel to its best-selling PC WWII shooter, Call of Duty, and its console offshoot, Call of Duty: Finest Hour.

"We're pleased to announce that in fiscal 2006 we will launch two new Call of Duty products, one for the PC and one for consoles," said Doornink. Activision's 2006 fiscal year starts on April 1, 2005. The revelation was not entirely new, as Activision first confirmed it was working on a sequel to the WWII shooter last July. While mention of the upcoming console Call of Duty was new, it was not surprising, given the success of Finest Hour, which only dropped out of the top 10 best-selling consoles games this week.

Doornink did not specify which consoles the new Call of Duty would be released for, whether it would be a sequel to Finest Hour, or whether Finest Hour developer Spark Unlimited would be developing the game. However, last May Infinity Ward posted a job listing for "seasoned next-generation console engineers to join its ranks to meet the challenge and expectations for these high-end development platforms," meaning that it will likely develop the game itself.

Call of Duty is Infinity Ward's sole game to date, and it is likely that the Activision-owned dev shop is working on a sequel. Indeed, Doornink told analysts during the call that his company has very high hopes for the series. "Call of Duty has the potential to become our largest and most profitable franchise," he said. Coincidentally, many members of the Call of Duty development team got their start working on the current highest-grossing WWII shooter franchise, Electronic Arts' Medal of Honor.

For more on Call of Duty, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, and the expansion pack Call of Duty: United Offensive, read each game's respective review.

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