A third-person Call of Duty that takes place during the Vietnam War is still an option for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games, co-founders Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield have told Game Informer. The project was in development for "at least six to eight months" across 2009 and 2010, but Sledgehammer ultimately shelved it in order to help Infinity Ward complete Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Set predominantly in Cambodia, the game would have involved guerrilla combat in dense jungle environments. We reported on it way back in September 2011. but this is the first time we've had proper details. "We had the underground tunnels," Schofield told GI. "We were definitely getting some Dead Space moments. I don't mean that from sci-fi, I mean that was a war that was scary for the [American soldiers]."
"They didn't know if in the jungle there was a booby trap, or what was in those tunnels. And there were thousands of miles of tunnel underground. It was a hidden war, right? Everybody thought the war was in Vietnam, but it was in Cambodia and Laos. So we were telling a cool story. "
Somewhat oddly, given Call of Duty's historic willingness to blow up exotic locations, the developers were worried about how the game would have been perceived outside the US. "We found out as we were researching it as well, all around the world it's actually known as America's war," reflected Schofield. "Not Vietnam's. We were the only ones that called it the Vietnam War. It's kind of unpopular. And we didn't really understand the marketing aspect of that."
The bigger problem, however, was that Infinity Ward had lost too many staff in the wake of Activision's legendary falling-out with former studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella. Having demonstrated its capabilities with the Vietnam game, Sledgehammer was flown in to make up the numbers. "When [Activision] needed help on Modern Warfare 3 we were the first ones to get it because we had already proven ourselves within six months that we could dive in, learn the lore of the game, understand the rules, and build something that was different," Schofield went on.
"Let's be frank, Infinity Ward was going through some transition," Condrey added. "We were growing with a triple-A team here, and the chance to work on the biggest game at that time and this fiction and space was super exciting for us. We would've loved to have made [the third-person Call of Duty]. It was in a space that we enjoyed, but how does anything compare to the first-person blockbuster release of 2011?"
Sledgehammer has its hands full at present, obviously but Schofield would love to return to the Vietnam game at some stage. "If they ever asked us to a make a third-person Call of Duty game I'd go back to what we were doing," he concluded.
In a wistful mood? You might be interested in the below Call of Duty tactics game from 2009, which was briefly in development at Vicarious Visions.