The Call of Duty: Vanguard reveal trailer features a very conspicuous absence: the Activision logo is nowhere to be seen. Many are attributing this choice to the Activision Blizzard Inc. lawsuit that was filed weeks before the announcement of the new game.
The Activision logo was completely left out of the trailer, replaced with a title reading “Call of Duty presents.” The company name was also not included in the logos featured at the end of the trailer, instead being replaced with Sledgehammer Games. A tiny description at the bottom of the screen for Activision Publishing Inc. at the very end of the trailer is the only indication of the publisher’s presence. The Call of Duty franchise is a large part of what Activision is known for, so to leave their name out could be attributed to the controversies following the lawsuit.
Following the trailer’s release, Axios journalist Stephen Totilo spoke to Activision about the logo’s absence, to which their PR team described it as a “creative choice.”
“Call of Duty has continued to expand into an incredible universe of experiences. This was a creative choice that reflects how Vanguard represents the next major installment in the franchise,” the Activision PR statement reads. The omission of the name of the publisher currently being sued for discrimination and harassment being labeled as a “creative choice” is an interesting creative choice of its own.
Call of Duty: Vanguard is the first new game to be announced following the lawsuit’s filing on July 20. Since the filing, Activision Blizzard Inc. has been under fire not only for the poor treatment of their employees, but for leadership’s response to the lawsuit which Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick described as “tone deaf.” The lawsuit has produced a larger call to action for fair treatment of marginalized groups working within the videogame industry.
Call of Duty: Vanguard will be released on Nov. 5, and will be available on the Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC. With the game’s release coming up, it will be interesting to see whether or not Activision continues to remove its name from further elements of the game and its advertising.