Leaks and Fan Outrage Changed Call of Duty: Vanguard's Direction

Call of Duty -
call of duty vanguard development
Call of Duty: Vanguard has reportedly had a troubled development. | © Activision

Call of Duty: Vanguard changed direction due to community outrage over leaks earlier this year, according to reports from Dualshocker's Tom Henderson. After the game's original leak back in March and April, fan disappointment over Vanguard's World War 2 setting prompted Sledgehammer Games to step up development. Here is how leaks and fan outrage changed Call of Duty: Vanguard's Direction.

The remarkable thing about Call of Duty: Vanguard is that, despite the constant negative coverage that it received prior to its reveal, it now has fans hyped out of their mind. This week's reveal event in Warzone was a huge success, despite the farcical nature of being tasked with shooting at a train, and the game's trailer couldn't help but run tingles down our spine. Perhaps, after the depressing disappointment that has been Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty: Vanguard could, like the American's in the game's tried-and-tested setting, turn the tide. Here is how Vanguard changed directions...

Yeah, that's right, Call of Duty: Vanguard's development changed because of leaks and fan outrage! If you're unsure about what the Vanguard details are, catch up on them:

Call of Duty: Vanguard's Troubled Development

Call of Duty: Vanguard kickstarts what has been termed as the "Second Decade" for Sledgehammer Games, and brings together four years of upheaval. You see, after 2017's Call of Duty: World War 2, Sledgehammer Games was – pun intended – in the wars.

WW2 launched at a very exciting time in Video Game history. PUBG had just launched, and Battle Royale's swiftly became the next hot-topic. After Epic Games' Fortnite became a smash-hit, it became evident that Call of Duty needed to change direction. 2017's Call of Duty WW2 did not meet with particularly crash-hot reviews, and in 2018, Treyarch stepped up to release Call of Duty: Black Ops IV, the series' first attempt at a Battle Royale.

The game did well, receiving a generally positive critical reception, but back at Sledgehammer Games, things were changing. The studio's founders, ex-EA executives Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, left the company to start their own project in late 2017 / early 2018. In February 2018, Aaron Halon came in as the studio's head, and the company entered its next phase.

Modern Warfare did well in 2019, and then in 2020, Warzone became one of, if not the most successful Call of Duty game of all time. Sledgehammer worked relatively extensively on Black Ops Cold War, but ultimately the game was taken out of their hands, with Treyarch stepping in to take the game home while Sledgehammer pivoted to a brand-new project... Call of Duty: Vanguard...

Now it is August 2021, Activision Blizzard is facing a massive lawsuit, and the months upon months of leaks that preceded Vanguard's reveal have been met with intense negativity. So, how on earth have they managed to pull this off? After such a troubled development, how can Call of Duty: Vanguard look just so good?

How Leaks and Fan Outrage Changed Call of Duty: Vanguard's Direction

When Call of Duty: Vanguard details leaked a few months ago, fans went into an uproar over the World War 2 setting, and that uproar hit Sledgehammer like a ton of bricks. Tom Henderson, a prolific Call of Duty leaker, a man with many insider-sources at Activision, and a writer for DualShockers, addressed this in a recent article and a series of tweets. Here's a little taste-tester:

According to Henderson, the leaks and rumors that surrounded Sledgehammer's next Call of Duty title were – for the most part, at least – accurate, and the consequent outrage did not go unnoticed at Sledgehammer. The studio reportedly stepped up development, hiring a ton of people to help make Call of Duty: Vanguard the best World War 2 game they could. The philosophy seems, at least, to be that if people don't really want WW2, then this better be the best WW2 game ever made. Makes sense, right?

What is going to be interesting about Call of Duty: Vanguard, is that this is a game developed almost entirely during the Covid-19 pandemic, by a studio that has – for the better part of a half-decade – been in a state of upheaval. From WW2 to Black Ops Cold War to Vanguard, from a shrinking company to a rapidly expanding company, from a company whose last few games received very mixed praise, Call of Duty: Vanguard is a curiosity case.

As Henderson notes, Vanguard's initial reception has been pretty bloody good. In addition, reports that Sledgehammer's expansion into Melbourne, Australia, and Toronto, Canada have fueled a huge development ramp-up since the game's leak earlier this year, suggest that Sledgehammer Games are not sleeping on Vanguard. They are pulling out all the stops, and we can't wait to find out the result.

What does this all mean for us? Well: leaks and fan outrage have changed Call of Duty: Vanguard for the better. This is something to celebrate.

Read More:

Welcome to EarlyGame, your one-stop-shop for everything Esports and Gaming. Check out MyEarlyGame for an exclusive and customizable experience, and to become part of the EarlyGame family. Get engaged on Twitter and Facebook.