Call of Duty: Vanguard is "Not Great, Not Terrible"

New details on Call of Duty: Vanguard indicate the game won't be anything special.

By Tom Henderson

August 19, 2021

After several months of reporting and investigation into the development of Call of Duty: Vanguard, new details have surfaced indicating that the game will release in somewhat of a decent state.

It’s been a few months since I first tweeted that Call of Duty: Vanguard’s development was a “f**king disaster”, with my comments coming directly off the back of seeing some early Vanguard gameplay and speaking to a source who’s been familiar with Vanguard’s development. As many people with video game development knowledge know, it’s often the last few months where a game really comes together, with bugs and glitches being hammered out ready for the game’s release.

I’ve seen early footage of many different Call of Duty titles over the years, in many different states of development, but the most notable would be early footage of Advanced Warfare in March of 2014; eight months prior to its release. Although both games are seven years apart, I wanted to make the comparison because I’ve seen both games at the same stage of development and to put it simply, Vanguard appeared to be significantly worse.

Call of Duty: Vanguard | Official Teaser

Call of Duty: Vanguard | Official Teaser

Vanguard Changed Direction

Despite early rumors of Vanguard’s development being in a difficult state, according to sources, there was a huge catalyst that changed the tide – Leaks.

On March 22, 2021, Modern Warzone reported that this year’s Call of Duty title will be dubbed “Call of Duty WWII: Vanguard” and will have a setting in which the war didn’t end. These rumors were quickly corroborated by Eurogamer, who stated that the information is accurate, but the game will be set in a traditional World War II setting.

The leaks and rumors sent the Call of Duty community into an uproar, with many fans finding it difficult to understand why the developers thought a World War II setting was wise. It was at this point that things changed for the better, with Sledgehammer Games reportedly stepping up development to give fans the best World War II title they could deliver under the pandemic. Remember, it was at this time that Sledgehammer Games were hiring staff left, right and centre, all whilst developing their next title under COVID-19 restrictions.

Recent talks around with those familiar with Vanguard have been positive, with the understanding that the game has seen an impressive ramp-up in development these past several months. Despite the positivity though, the game is likely not going to be the “golden” Call of Duty title that fans want.

Call of Duty Vanguard on Day 1

With just a couple of months until Vanguard makes its debut, it’s still difficult to know how the game will be received on release. Of course, the game is going to have a bit of negative backlash due to its World War II setting, but it would seem like bugs and issues have been squashed and resolved in recent months.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good nor a bad Call of Duty title. After speaking to one source associated with Vanguard in some capacity, who wished to stay anonymous, the game was quoted as “Not Great, Not Terrible”. That line is of course from the award-winning HBO Chernobyl series and by all accounts so far, it does seem like the game is just going to be another Call of Duty title, but with more multiplayer maps.

Old reports stated the game will be releasing with around eight 6v6 multiplayer maps, but fortunately, that is no longer the case. Vanguard will reportedly launch with 20 multiplayer maps, 16 of which being 6v6.

It’s been hard to not give my own opinions on Vanguard and its development, but I’ve been very vocal that I’m not particularly interested in a WW2 title and I think that a lot of people feel the same. No matter how good Call of Duty: Vanguard is though, there’s always going to be one big dark cloud over multiplayer… Skill-based Matchmaking.

Vanguard SBMM Is The Same As Black Ops Cold War

Vanguard will have Skill-based Matchmaking and unfortunately, it appears that it will be identical to that of Black Ops Cold War’s.

Regardless of the matchmaking system seemingly getting worse and worse every time a new Call of Duty is released, Vanguard will be no different. Believe it or not, Activision feels like the system has been perfected enough that it doesn’t really need to be tweaked.

Year after year Activision continues to make in-game sales records and despite the influence that Warzone has had on both in-game and premium sales, Activision feels like the current system to incentivize purchases is ideal. So no, sorry, but SBMM will not be removed in Call of Duty: Vanguard.

Where I Stand on Vanguard

Personally, I’m not super excited about Vanguard. Recent tweets and leaks over on my Twitter have come directly from a press briefing to media and content creators, which are all positive, and for obvious reasons.

I do think that Vanguard is shaping up to be a decent Call of Duty title, but unfortunately, I’m not that interested in a World War 2 title that I know will have its issues and a harsh skill-based matchmaking system. Put those issues together and pair it up with the competition that the game faces this year, I think I will have more fun of a time playing the likes of Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite.

I’ll still be buying Vanguard on November 5th and in my opinion, the game is still going to be the best selling game out of the bunch, but for playability and for fun, I’ll probably be rocking a few different games this year.

Call of Duty: Vanguard is set to release on November 5th on the Xbox One X/S, PS5, PS4 and PC.

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Tom Henderson

Tom is a FPS fanatic, social media guru, and a father. But when he's not building 500 piece lego sets and train tracks, he's likely playing the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield and CS:GO.

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