Activision confirms a “new, innovative” Call of Duty from Infinity Ward will arrive in 2016

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Activision Blizzard released its quarterly financial report last week, and it didn’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that Infinity Ward will launch a new Call of Duty game this holiday season. Activision did say, however, that this will be a new “ innovative” entry into the long-running franchise – not a word usually associated with Call of Duty.

There’s been a Call of Duty game released every year since Call of Duty 2 in 2005. The development of the titles was split between Infinity Ward and Treyarch on an alternating yearly basis but the franchise moved from a two-year to a three-year development cycle in 2014, with Sledgehammer Games joining the other two studios as a lead developer.

It will be Infinity Ward’s first Call of Duty game since 2013’s CoD: Ghosts, which was the first game in the series to appear on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The developer knows it has a lot to live up to – last year’s entry, Black Ops 3 from Treyarch, was thebest selling game of 2015.

We don’t know what the upcoming game will be about; it could be a new Ghosts or Modern Warfare, but Infinity Ward did post a tweet mentioning “reaching new heights” last month that included a picture of an astronaut. Could this hint that the game will be set in space (like the brief section that appeared in Ghosts)? It could explain why Activision is using the term “innovative.”

Activision reported that its quarterly and yearly sales were down last year. The company’s adjusted revenue for the quarter was $2.12 billion, down from $2.21 billion from the same period a year earlier and below its forecast of $2.15 billion. Total revenue for the year was $4.62 billion, compared to the $4.81 billion it made across all of 2014.

The company said that two of its expected big-earners, Skylanders Superchargers and Guitar Hero Live, performed weaker than it anticipated. Activision blamed this on greater competition in the toys-to-life genre and the “casual audience’s shift to mobile devices.”

A multiplayer-only version Call of Duty: Black Ops III is available on Steam for a limited period

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If you’ve ever wanted to experience the immensely popular multiplayer element of the recent Call of Duty games but have no interest in the single-player section, Activision has a deal that you may find interesting. Up until February 29, a special Starter Kit will be available on Steam for $14.99 that does away with the campaign and gives limited access to Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s multiplayer portion.

With the Multiplayer Starter Pack, you’ll get access to public ranked multiplayer matches, the weapon paint shop, gunsmith, the emblem editor, arena and freerun modes, theater and the black market.

In addition to the absence of the campaign, the pack also removes the Zombie mode, the ability to play in custom matches, access to Dead Ops arcade II and Nightmares mode, and the ability to Fresh Start your profile. Moreover, levels will be capped at 55, and there’s no option to Prestige.

The pack will also restrict access to mod tools or modded content and the unranked server browser when they roll out.

If you do buy the pack and decide you enjoy it enough to warrant purchasing the full game, the $14.99 will be deducted from its $60 price (or $85, if you opt for the Digital Delux Edition).

This isn’t the first instance of a multiplayer-only Black Ops III; due to the technical limitations of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the game was released on the last-gen consoles without the single-player campaign.