Today at New York Comic Con, a team of story architects for Call of Duty: Vanguard at Sledgehammer Games and Activision Blizzard spoke about the characters and narrative of the upcoming game and especially its accompanying prequel comic book. This included Gabe Hernandez, Sledgehammer branch strategist and creative director; narrative lead Stephen Rhodes, whose credits include Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and The Witcher 3; lead writer Sam Maggs, whose credits include Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands; and novelist and essayist Tochi Onyebuchi, whose works include Riot Baby and Black Panther Legends. They spoke positively and passionately about their experiences, and they also let slip that they already have story ideas for a Call of Duty: Vanguard 2 and 3 and really want to make both games.
(If you’re wondering why Nintendo Enthusiast has a whole feature about Call of Duty: Vanguard, a game that is not coming to Nintendo Switch, I will refer you back to the fact that New York Comic Con 2021 is an extremely barebones showing for video games, but since we’re here, we’re making the best of it.)
This is the first mention from anyone, informal or not, of the potential for Call of Duty: Vanguard sequels. It would be silly to say that a Call of Duty: Vanguard 2 or 3 is contingent upon the sales of this first title doing well, since Call of Duty is consistently the highest-selling video game series (and the scathing ongoing allegations against Activision are not likely to change that). Rather, it sounds like Call of Duty: Vanguard 2 or 3 will depend upon whether players latch on to the main characters lovingly crafted for the game. Along those lines, the writers explained that one of their goals with this game was to create characters that could represent Call of Duty the way a character like Master Chief represents Halo and to position them as “figureheads for this era of COD.”
The premise of the game is that Carver Butcher, (The writers acknowledged the absurdity of his name.) who previously appeared as just a vendor in Call of Duty: WWII, has assembled a team of skilled misfits for the SOE (Special Operations Executive). The SOE was a real-life secret British organization that performed clandestine missions during the war, and the game will follow a team of five. This includes Arthur Kingsley, a British soldier of West African descent who grows into a leadership role while dealing with ambient prejudice; Polina Petrova, a sniper from Stalingrad with a wry sense of humor and lack of team spirit; Wade Jackson, a cocky American ace fighter pilot who needs to learn humility; Lucas Riggs, an Australian infantryman demolitions expert who has to learn to respect his British leader despite the then-lingering animosity between Australia and Great Britain; and a still unannounced fifth character.
The Call of Duty: Vanguard comic, which will be released as six free issues digitally on the Call of Duty website, will tell the story of how Butcher assembled the team. It’s described as a “key part” of the overall narrative, but both the comic and the game will tell stories that are comprehensible without indulging in the other. The comic incidentally ends seconds before the game begins.
Maggs said all of the “stupid” ideas she had for both the Call of Duty: Vanguard comic and the game were used, suggesting Sledgehammer and Activision are allowing a healthy amount of freedom in constructing the story. If players gravitate to Arthur, Polina, Wade, and Lucas the way they gravitate to Master Chief in Halo, then the likelihood of a Call of Duty: Vanguard 2 or even 3 seems pretty high. If not though, the writers would like to at least continue the characters’ story in future comics.