Activision has addressed disappointment in the direction of last year's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, admitting that the game "didn't resonate" with the series' huge fan base and that sales-wise "it wasn't the success we planned".
The comments, from executive Eric Hishberg (via Eurogamer), were made during a company investor call. He also revealed that this year's game will "go back" to the series' roots after last year's excursion into science-fiction.
This year that game will be the work of Sledgehammer Games, which with its last Call of Duty title, 2014's Advanced Warfare, introduced faster movement and exoskeleton suits that allowed for wall-running.
These components were built upon in the next two games in the wildly-popular series: Treyarch's Black Ops 3 in 2015 and Infinity Ward's Infinite Warfare last year.
In October 2016, a rumour from IGN Spain (via GameRant) reported that Sledgehammer's game would be set some time between 1955 and 1975, suggesting its basis will be the Vietnam War. If true, the period setting would certainly fit with the series returning to its roots.
If the next Call of Duty is set during a historical conflict, Activision will have been bouyed by EA's enormous success last year with Battlefield 1, which depicted the First World War.
The manufacturer won't exactly be delighted that Call of Duty's chief competitor did so well, but the game's success does show there's an interest in such games.
In our review of Infinite Warfare, we celebrated the game's single player campaign but were critical of the multiplayer side of things, which is the main reason people buy Call of Duty games in droves.
"Unfortunately the multiplayer is a bit of a let down," we wrote. "Too few changes make this feel like a rehash of Black Ops 3 and the new ideas fail to hit the mark."
Infinite Warfare still enjoyed a big launch and sold well, as in, most developers would trade in their grandmothers for such numbers, but it still failed in comparison to older games in the series. Compared to Black Ops 3 for example, sales were down 48.5%.
If past years are anything to go by, this year's Call of Duty will be announced around April or May.