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Activision CEO on open-world 'Call of Duty': 'Never say never'

Will we ever see an open-world 'Call of Duty'?
Will we ever see an open-world 'Call of Duty'?
Photo courtesy of Activision, used with permission

The seventh generation of gaming consoles saw a dramatic increase in the number of open-world titles, a genre that has continued to expand rapidly with the release of the PS4, Xbox One and Wii U. Grand Theft Auto V's gigantic world helped make it one of the most successful games ever, and even franchises like Metal Gear Solid have begun to open up their level design.

We recently had a chance to sit down with Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg to discuss a few of the publisher's major upcoming titles, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which will be taking the franchise in a different direction with its future setting and focus on privatized military corporations. We asked Hirshberg if the development team had considered taking the series even further in a different direction by making the switch over to open-world gameplay. He gave us a few practical reasons why this would make development difficult for the various teams who work on the franchise, as completely rethinking the game's design would be a huge undertaking.

I would never say never, but I think the first-person action genre has consistently shown that it's highly appealing to people and I think we do it better than anyone. I think we'll continue to focus on making that experience better and better, as opposed to shifting genres where developers who are making these games are less experienced and would probably face a lot more challenges with [an open-world game]. That said, the open-world genre has shown to be really popular to people, so like I said, never say never.

It sounds like fans shouldn't expect to see an open-world approach to Call of Duty anytime soon, but shouldn't rule it out for the distant future. Of course, it's hard telling what may be possible for Sledgehammer Games, Infinity Ward and Treyarch to accomplish now that the series has switched over to a three-year development cycle. For now, fans can look forward to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare when it launches for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on November 4th.