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The Bizarre Reason Activision Blizzard Claims Call Of Duty: Vanguard Flopped

Beginning with its debut in 2003, the "Call of Duty" franchise has been at the forefront of gaming culture and is considered a pioneer IP when it comes to first-person shooters. As a result, the series has enjoyed much success in its nearly two decade run and its games — good or bad — typically make a killing when it comes to sales. Unfortunately, the Activision-owned franchise sustained a blow in regards to the financial performance of its latest title, "Call of Duty: Vanguard."

Even before its release, "Vanguard" suffered from a plethora of issues, especially pertaining to cheating. The title's beta phase was all but ruined by hackers and even post launch it has been embroiled in countless cheating scandals. The game got off to a rough start upon the discovery that the Search & Destroy mode was all but broken. The situation was apparently so dire that even pro gamers were being forced to cheat by hackers in "Warzone." But the powers that be over at Activision don't seem to think that these factors were the primary cause for the commercial shortcomings of "Call of Duty: Vanguard" — it was the setting.

Activision Blizzard points to setting for Vanguard's sales shortcomings

In an annual report to investors, Activision Blizzard noted the poor sales performance of "Call of Duty: Vanguard." While the company admitted that the title wasn't up to its standards, Activision seemed to place most of the blame on its World War II setting as opposed to the various cheating scandals and bugs the game has become notorious for. 

"While Call of Duty remains one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time, our 2021 premium release didn't meet our expectations, we believe primarily due to our own execution," the report reads. "The game's World War II setting didn't resonate with some of our community and we didn't deliver as much innovation in the premium game as we would have liked."

Activision's conclusion may be at odds with what the actual community thinks. In several Reddit threads, "Vanguard" players didn't seem to have as much issue with the setting as they did with the handling of it. Whereas previous "Call of Duty" titles that take place during World War II seem to more or less do their best to stay true to the era, "Vanguard" incorporates immersion-breaking additions like anime, while glossing over pivotal issues such as racism on the battlefield and claims of revisionist history.