In 2008, Activision’s Call Of Duty series had climbed to the top of the gaming world thanks to the combined appeal of heavy-handed wartime drama and Mountain Dew-fueled no-scope headshots. The developers at Infinity Ward had recently proven that Call Of Duty’s established World War II first-person shooter formula could be transplanted to the present day without losing any of the appeal, and Activision was looking to see how else it could squeeze some money out of the brand. As fans are aware, Call Of Duty stuck with the modern setting for a while and more recently jumped to the future, but things almost went in a totally weird direction.
That’s according to GamesRadar, which uncovered the existence of a rejected pitch for a project called Call Of Duty: Roman Wars. As indicated by the title, the game would’ve been set in ancient Rome and centered on a soldier in Julius Caesar’s Tenth Legion named Titus Pullo, and it came from a studio called Vicarious Visions that mostly works on Skylanders these days. Unlike the traditionally first-person Call Of Duty games, Roman Wars would’ve had a third-person camera (a unnamed source compares it to Gears Of War) and a lot of sword-based combat. Eventually, the point-of-view would switch from different kinds of soldiers until it reached Caesar himself, putting you in charge of the whole army.
Vicarious Visions put together a couple of basic levels for the game, and the pitch reportedly got high enough up the chain that it even landed on the desk of Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. Unfortunately, possibly due to the Guitar Hero brand tanking at the time, the studio’s desire to slap the Call Of Duty name on everything it could had fizzled out, and the idea of making something so drastically different was no longer palatable. Activision ended up going with Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare instead, which shook up the series’ formula by giving everyone robotic exoskeletons and then keeping everything else the same.
You can see GamesRadar’s video about Roman Warfare (which includes some footage) below: