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...