Battlefield 1 may take players back to 1918, but there was once a Call of Duty game in development that would take players much further back. Call of Duty: Roman Wars was set in Ancient Rome and featured first-person sword combat, GamesRadar reports.
A demo for the lost Call of Duty game apparently impressed Activision and was even seen by CEO Bobby Kotick. However, GamesRadar reports that “a mixture of studio stubbornness and fears of over-saturating the brand” killed the Roman Wars’ chances at life. You can see footage of the game in the video below.
GamesRadar’s source, who chose to go by Polemus, says Skylanders developer Vicarious Visions created the prototype, which was eventually turned into “Roman Wars” by members who left the team. It was pitched to Ubisoft, which explains the company flags in the gameplay footage above.
Apparently, Roman Wars was born out of a test to see what Activision’s studios could create with the Call of Duty name. Roman Wars was built from the foundation of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 and utilized both first and third-person perspectives. The first-person view was apparently similar to 2005’s Condemned: Criminal Origins, while the third-person was “very Gears of War-style.”
Polemus told GamesRadar that you’d play as several different characters from a lowly grunt to Julius Caesar himself. It would have strived towards accuracy with its battles, keeping close to Caesar’s real-life conquests.
Although Roman Wars never saw the light of day, other ancient war games have. Crytek’s Roman action game Ryse released on Xbox One in 2013, which Polemus says made them feel validated in their push for the ancient warfare title.
You can read more about the inner workings on Call of Duty: Roman Wars over on GamesRadar.
Despite Polemus’ validation, Ryse received a low score of 4 in GameSpot’s review. Critic Mark Walton concluded, “Ryse is all sizzle and no steak, a stunning visage paired with a vapid personality. Everything from the leveling system that’s so painfully easy to complete (and so devoid of any impact on the game that it might as well not be there), to the story that does little to flesh out its lead characters beyond puerile notions of revenge is a testament to how little Ryse can back up its gorgeous visuals with anything more than a shallow set of fisticuffs.”