Speaking with Eurogamer, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg claims that yearly Call of Duty sequels, with one coming out every year since Modern Warfare back in 2007, exist because the appetite is there among fans.
In the interview, Hershberg said, “The cadence of the releases seems to have found a nice equilibrium with people’s appetite. There’s demand and excitement each and every time out. Then people are playing throughout the year. We have our biggest community of players today. Right now there are more people playing Call of Duty today than ever, which is remarkable for a franchise that’s been around as long as Call of Duty has. But, we don’t take anything for granted.”
"To pump out a Call of Duty game each year Activision uses an alternating development studio strategy so each game gets at least 18 months worth of dev time. Infinity Ward, which makes the Modern Warfare series and this year's Ghosts, and Treyarch, which makes the Black Ops series, are in charge, although fellow Activision-owned studio Sledgehammer is known to be making a Call of Duty game of some sort."
He continued, “Having alternating studios is one of the secrets to the franchise’s success. You have different creative people who are strong willed and have minds of their own. Everyone gets what makes a great Call of Duty game. Treyarch and IW are the masters, and have built this thing. So, there’s a lot of common DNA from year to year."
“But then people come in and want to top each other. There’s some healthy competition. There’s a desire within the creative team to not do the same thing and not be stagnant, the same way there is in the player community. Overall it seems to be a good system.”
Hirshberg also said Activision had managed to grow Call of Duty to a point where it transcends its genre, attracting those who would not normally play first person shooters.
"One of the things we've done well is take what is a pretty core video game, a first-person shooter, and turn it into this big pop culture event. Even if you're a casual participant in pop culture you feel like you've got to be a part of this ... A lot of non-hardcore sci-fi fans saw Avatar because it was an event. You felt you had to be a part of it. We've reached the status with Call of Duty of this sort of pop-cultural inevitability, where the game itself, the critical mass of the player base, the marketing tonality and the bigness of the presentation all combine to turn it into an event that I think is unique within the industry."
This comes after statements from DICE that the developer doesn't have the resources to release a Battlefield game every year and that each Battlefield game, like Call of Duty, has an 18 month development cycle.