There Was Almost a Call of Duty Set in Ancient Rome

There Was Almost a Call of Duty Set in Ancient Rome

Eight years ago, Infinity Ward pitched a Call of Duty title set in ancient Rome.

If you thought that Battlefield 1 taking things back in time to WW1 was a refreshing change of pace, well, Call of Duty almost one-upped them eight years ago. Gamesradar has spoken with one of the developers of this "lost" Call of Duty game: Call of Duty: Roman Wars, who told us a bit about the Call of Duty that never was.

"Eight years ago, you almost got to play a Call Of Duty set in ancient Rome. A game featuring battle elephants trampling soldiers, a playable Julius Caesar and first-person sword combat. Activision liked the idea, the Call of Duty: Roman Wars demo impressed, and it got as far as the desk of CEO Bobby Kotick before a mixture of studio stubbornness and fears of over-saturating the brand consigned this lost game, ironically, to history," reports Gamesradar.

"I really thought an ancient warfare game would do well, re-skinned with the Call of Duty engine," said 'Polemus' - a developer on the title who asked to be identified by an alias. "Basically we were following Julius Caesar's Tenth Legion - his special forces during those times - and we were doing a one level prototype based on the Battle of Alesia. So we built the one mission based on that. We had everything from riding horses, to riding an elephant, to working with catapults. All done in the Unreal Engine for rapid prototyping."

"They sent it up to Activision, to Bobby Kotick, and they wanted to hear a little bit more about the backstory," Polemus continued. "I at the time was being sort of... I was being stiff in that area," they admit. "I was huge on Call of Duty myself so I was like 'I really want to keep it on the Call of Duty level.' And they said, 'that's not going to fly with Activision - they're already looking at a different version and they don't want to oversaturate the market'".

You can read Gamesradar's full report here, where Polemus goes into a bit more detail on exactly what the game would have entailed.

I wonder if the people worried about "over-saturation" of the Call of Duty brand were the same people that approved three separate Call of Duty studios in order to ensure a new title is shipped every single year...

Source: Gamesradar

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I...am conflicted about how to feel about this game. On the one hand, we need more roman era games. On the other hand, well, It's Call of Duty.

Also!

"Press X To Hail Caesar"

"fears of over-saturating the brand"

This part just makes me laugh. It's even more ironic than it being "lost to history."

I believe this game came out under the title Ryse: Son of Rome.

It featured Queen Boadicea attacking the city of Rome with elephants, among other things. That should tell you how shit it was.

Also, yeah... "over-saturating the Call of Duty brand" LOLOL

Going through eras would have been a lot more interesting than most of the other games. They could have gone without the extra Modern Warfares and Black Ops. And fiture combat has been done to death. Medieval MMO battles is a scarcely tapped AAA market.

So you go around as a soldier of the most powerful military on earth, curb-stomping less developed nations who are outmatched technology as you further your imperial cause.

Just like CoD proper then? XD

8 years ago? That was a bit after they made Call of Duty 2, and before 4. I'd have been down to see this game have been real then.

Creator002:
"fears of over-saturating the brand"

This part just makes me laugh. It's even more ironic than it being "lost to history."

Zhukov:
I believe this game came out under the title Ryse: Son of Rome.

It featured Queen Boadicea attacking the city of Rome with elephants, among other things. That should tell you how shit it was.

Also, yeah... "over-saturating the Call of Duty brand" LOLOL

Activision was clearly looking at this from an economic perspective, not from the perspective of gamers bitching on forums. They weren't all that wrong, were they? CoD has been selling like fresh water in the dessert.

Saelune:
8 years ago? That was a bit after they made Call of Duty 2, and before 4. I'd have been down to see this game have been real then.

No, that would have been around the time of Modern Warfare (2007) and World at War (2008). Most interestingly though is that it was before West was fired, so maybe there was a missed opportunity to diversify Infinity Ward's output.

And yeah... you can't help but LOL at the 'fear of oversaturating the brand'.

Shamanic Rhythm:

Saelune:
8 years ago? That was a bit after they made Call of Duty 2, and before 4. I'd have been down to see this game have been real then.

No, that would have been around the time of Modern Warfare (2007) and World at War (2008). Most interestingly though is that it was before West was fired, so maybe there was a missed opportunity to diversify Infinity Ward's output.

And yeah... you can't help but LOL at the 'fear of oversaturating the brand'.

...I somehow mentally switched the 8 and 6 when subtracting years. But still, might have been interesting if "Call of Duty" more had to do with people at war throughout history, not just the now standard FPS series. And I do say this as someone who does buy almost every CoD game.

Hawki:
So you go around as a soldier of the most powerful military on earth, curb-stomping less developed nations who are outmatched technology as you further your imperial cause.

Just like CoD proper then? XD

With the notable exception that in many cases those curbstomped nations had their lot improved on the whole under Roman rule. Doubtlessly, it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops, but the (forced) Romanization of the provinces did come with benefits like increased (political) stability and prosperity through trade. The USA has had a somewhat spottier record as of late.

Chimpzy:

Hawki:
So you go around as a soldier of the most powerful military on earth, curb-stomping less developed nations who are outmatched technology as you further your imperial cause.

Just like CoD proper then? XD

With the notable exception that in many cases those curbstomped nations had their lot improved on the whole under Roman rule. Doubtlessly, it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops, but the (forced) Romanization of the provinces did come with benefits like increased (political) stability and prosperity through trade. The USA has had a somewhat spottier record as of late.

Yes nothing like the benefits of having your land taken, having to pay taxes to the people that stole your land, having your daughters raped or sold into slavery, and many other horrific things.

NickBrahz:
Yes nothing like the benefits of having your land taken, having to pay taxes to the people that stole your land, having your daughters raped or sold into slavery, and many other horrific things.

Those were the realities of war in the ancient world. It was a brutal affair, no matter which people waged it and the conquered almost invariably suffered. At least, during the height of their power, Roman rule brought a long period of relative peace once the dust had settled down. The Romans weren't nice, you don't conquer an empire by being nice, but conditions under their hegemony were arguably better than those that came immediately before and after.

Chimpzy:

Hawki:
So you go around as a soldier of the most powerful military on earth, curb-stomping less developed nations who are outmatched technology as you further your imperial cause.

Just like CoD proper then? XD

With the notable exception that in many cases those curbstomped nations had their lot improved on the whole under Roman rule. Doubtlessly, it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops, but the (forced) Romanization of the provinces did come with benefits like increased (political) stability and prosperity through trade. The USA has had a somewhat spottier record as of late.

Yes, but what have the romans ever done for us?
OT: Sad I was beaten to the Ryse: Son of Rome joke, but it basically is CoD with Romans. Seriously, there's a scene where what feels like 10,000 Gauls just show up out of nowhere to siege a fort. I mean out of nowhere, as far as I remember there's no sign of that many of them in the cutscene before.

Seeing how Battlefield is going back in time, maybe eventually we will see a Battlefield: Rome one day. Along with anachronistic submachineguns.

Saelune:
8 years ago? That was a bit after they made Call of Duty 2, and before 4. I'd have been down to see this game have been real then.

Eight years ago today would have been around eight months after the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which will be nine years old this November.

You may feel old now.

Hawki:
So you go around as a soldier of the most powerful military on earth, curb-stomping less developed nations who are outmatched technology as you further your imperial cause.

Just like CoD proper then? XD

This may be somewhat nitpicky, but it could be argued, that the empire in question is actually second to China - it may be or it may not be, that is not the point, rather it's not clearly superior.

But yeah, the parallel works even better if you include China, I guess :D.

See, if they broke the mold like that, it might have turned out better for the series.

Considering this would have come between the release of CoD4 and MW2, I'm wondering if IW had planned for this instead of MW2.

Either way, of course it would by Bobby Kotick who'd reject it. Activision was already nervous about trying modern warfare for CoD4, and Kotick is about as averse to risk taking as they come. And as for "oversaturation", something tells me that doesn't mean what everyone is making it out to mean. Sure, Call of Duty releases games too frequently, but at least they aren't changing genres every two years.

This gives me an idea! What if the next Call of Duty game was set in feudal japan, during the time of Nobunaga Oda? It could have Samurai use what ever weapon they got their hands on, and tell the story of the rise and fall of Oda.

 

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