Will the next Call of Duty suck?

As you probably already know, Call of Duty: World at War is due out this fall for 360, PS3, PC and Wii. Activision has turned to good ol’ reliable Treyarch to develop World at War, while series creators Infinity Ward are hard at work on the next ordinal chapter, Call of Duty 5, for sometime in the distant future. More Duty should be a good thing, right? But fans are worried that with Treyarch helming the Pacific-themed WWII shooter, CoD: World at War will throw the series into a tailspin. Before we get too hysterical, let’s review these statistics from Metacritic.

The statistics show that Infinity Ward is clearly the premiere Call of Duty developer. While Treyarch must toil in IW’s long shadow, they’ve at least done better than Spark Unlimited’s “Finest Hour.” In fact, the upward-moving trend in Treyarch’s Metacritic scores (with the exception of CoD 3 for Wii, ugh) indicate that the developer is settling into the franchise. From these stats we can predict that World at War will score in the mid to high 80s. Mark Lamia, studio head at Treyarch, told us during a recent visit that this is the first time they’ve had two full years to produce a Call of Duty game. Toss in the fact that they’re not working across two generations of hardware like they did with 3, and the picture starts to look even rosier. Lamia indicated that a separate team is hard at work modding the CoD4 engine to run on the Wii, but we didn’t actually see it. The Wii’s track record with Duty is short (and not very good,) so we’re going to hold off on predictions for that one.

Next page: The trailer, and impressions from the demo