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Sledgehammer Games Wanted to Make Advanced Warfare 2, but Was Forced to Develop Modern Warfare 3

Sledgehammer initially pitched a project called ‘Anvil.’

sledgehammer games wanted to make advanced warfare 2, but were forced to develop modern warfare 3


  • The studio had ideas for a game set in the Advanced Warfare universe.
  • Instead of working on their own ideas, employees were forced to develop MW3.
  • Advanced Warfare is a game ahead of its time, with quite a few players admiring its campaign and setting.

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 finally released, many reviewers claimed that the campaign felt unoriginal and half-baked. Well, there may be a reason for this. Reports suggest that initially, during its development cycle, Sledgehammer wanted to craft a game set in the Advanced Warfare universe. Instead, it was forced to develop a sequel to Modern Warfare 2.

Earlier, a report from Bloomberg entailed the mishaps in development cycles where Sledgehammer’s employees were rushed into developing Modern Warfare 3. In fact, quite a few members of the team assumed the game was an expansion to Modern Warfare 2 and not a complete game in itself.

Instead of Modern Warfare 3, We Could Be Playing Advanced Warfare 2 Right Now

Modern Warfare 3 is the product of a rushed development cycle.
Modern Warfare 3 is the product of a rushed development cycle.

It may be common sense to think that Modern Warfare 3 was a properly planned, complete sequel to Modern Warfare 2, but that simply isn’t true. Sledgehammer employees admitted that they were previously told that the new game would be more of a DLC than a premium title. In an interview, Aaron Hold (head of Sledgehammer Games) also claimed how few people in the team were simply convinced that Modern Warfare 3 was going to be an expansion and nothing else.

Because of the mismatch in expectations and deadly crunch times, Modern Warfare 3 went through a development time of just 16 months to produce a triple-A title with a short and unsatisfying campaign. This begs the question: would things be different if Sledgehammer worked on its passion project instead? A possible sequel to Advanced Warfare would be highly anticipated.

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Originally, Sledgehammer Games Pitched a New Game Set in the Advanced Warfare Universe

'Press F to pay respects' from Advanced Warfare became a popular meme worldwide.
Press F to pay respects‘ from Advanced Warfare became a popular meme worldwide.

When things were just getting started, Sledgehammer pitched a project titled “Anvil,” right after Call of Duty: Vanguard was released. This new game was set in the same universe as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and would possibly be a sequel. However, none of this saw the light of day, as the team was forced to work on a new Modern Warfare instead.

To a lot of gamers, Advanced Warfare was the first game that shifted Call of Duty’s focus from realism to something ambitious in the context of futuristic gameplay. It was the first entry completely developed by Sledgehammer Games and stood the test of time when players adored games like Titanfall. At this time, however, many other gamers were showing more interest in realistic adventures, as proved by the success of Battlefield 1, which came out around the same timeline.

Advanced Warfare combined the realistic emotions of warfare with a highly ambitious setting that had players using tech and gear that wasn’t common in earlier Call of Duty games. The game takes place in 2054, where the protagonist, Jack Mitchell (played by Troy Baker), finds himself in a physically challenging position after a fatal injury. He now has a robo-arm and learns new ways to fight on the battlefield.


The game also featured the popular actor Kevin Spacey, who played Jonathan Irons. The character invites Jack to be a part of Atlas Corporation, which is supposedly the future of warfare as they know it.

As expected, things go awry, and it turns out there’s more than meets the eye. There are questions around moral ambiguity and more that follow. All in all, Advanced Warfare’s campaign direction was quite ahead of its time and sent players down a roller coaster of different emotions, riddled with highly intense cutscenes and gunfights. We’re not sure if we’ll ever see a sequel to Advanced Warfare.

But, given how poorly Modern Warfare 3 is doing at the moment, it’s safe to assume that Sledgehammer Games might have made a great game set in a futuristic universe once again if it was in charge.

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Written by Tanay

Tanay wears more hats than Red Dead Redemption 2 characters. He's a musician, writer, voice-over artist and adores interactive media. His favourite games are the ones with memorable stories and characters. He's pursuing a master's degree in Behavioural Sciences. No, he won't read your mind.