Call of Duty almost went back to the age of the Roman Empire had Call of Duty: Roman Wars been greenlit.
The Call of Duty franchise has taken us to World War II, modern times, slightly futuristic, and, in 2016, into space. However, it could have taken us all the way back to the times of the Roman Empire. GamesRadar has gotten its hands on some early build footage of Call of Duty: Roman Wars. Back in 2008, Activision was looking to experiment with the franchise outside of its, then, two-studio developers (Infinity Ward and Treyarch). Vicarious Visions, best known for their work on the Guitar Hero and Skylanders franchises, wanted to take a stab.
Call of Duty: Roman Wars would have centered around Julius Caesar’s tenth legion, and giving players the opportunity to play as different men in Caesar’s army. At certain points, according to the developer, players would have even been able to play as Caesar himself. The game’s tone was set to take inspiration from films like 300 and Gladiator with players fighting in a wide range of locales, including the sea, plains and forests. Gameplay would have been a blend first-person and third-person combat. The former was inspired by Condemned, and the latter by Gears of War.
Vicarious Visions created a single level based on the Battle of Alesia. The level showcased the game’s sword-and-shield combat, archery, catapults and even rideable elephants. It was a impressive, even catching the attention of Activition CEO Bobby Kotick. The Activision team, however, didn’t think the game suited the Call of Duty brand and Vicarious Visions wanted Roman Wars to be a Call of Duty game. Due to this disagreement, the game was never greenlit, and Activision ended up going with Sledgehammer Games’ Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare pitch. Had Call of Duty: Roman Wars came out, it would have been in 2013 for PS3 and Xbox 360, with the possibility of ports for PS4 and Xbox One
Vicarious Visions would later pitch “Roman Wars” to Ubisoft, whose logo you can see in the demo. That, unfortunately, did not work out.
While we won’t get to see a Roman Empire Call of Duty game, we will at least get to go to space. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is out November 4 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.