New Call of Duty may release on last-gen - hurting PS5 and Xbox Series X versions

Call of Duty: WW2
(Image credit: Activision)

This year’s Call of Duty could find itself split into two separate versions for both current and last generation consoles, according to prominent Call of Duty and Battlefield leaker Tom Henderson (via Gamesradar).

Henderson took to Twitter to share information about Call of Duty 2021, supposedly subtitled “Vanguard,” stating that the game will be “held back” by versions of the game on PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

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It’s as of yet unclear how much these rumored last generation versions of Call of Duty Vanguard might differ from their current-gen counterparts and, according to Henderson, this cross-generation strategy will be in place for both Vanguard and the next Call of Duty developed by Infinity Ward, positing that developer’s game for release in 2022 if Call of Duty’s annual schedule is to be upheld. 

As for Tom Henderson, the leaker has been doing the rounds for years, particularly with news related to Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises. The leaker’s Twitter account was actually suspended earlier this year amid a sharing of Battlefield 6 rumors, suggesting Henderson’s leaks could’ve hit a bit too close to home for publisher EA. 

Too far gone?

If these rumors are true, then the next Call of Duty will be available across multiple console generations. This isn’t unheard of for the series, as both Call of Duty Ghosts and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare (released in 2013 and 2014 respectively) launched on PS4, Xbox One and the then-previous generation of PS3 and Xbox 360.

From a financial perspective, it would make sense for Activision to release Call of Duty 2021 across generations. Many consumers still play on last-gen hardware, due in no small part to the current scarcity of PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles.

The adverse effect, though, is that Call of Duty 2021 might not be able to really push the boundaries of its engine. Call of Duty’s penchant for bombastic set pieces and fast-paced gameplay will no doubt have to be reigned in if Call of Duty 2021 is set to release on last-gen consoles as well as the current. Which would be a shame, as Call of Duty’s slick and polished campaigns are usually a highlight of each release.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.