Mike Hickey of research firm Janco Partners has stated his belief that the chaps at Sledgehammer Games are currently hard at work on the next chapter in the Modern Warfare series as opposed to Infinity Ward.
Writing in a research note earlier today, Hickey said that he expects Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to show up at some point during the 2011 fiscal year, which puts the game on store shelves by March 31, 2012.
Unsurprisingly, the analyst also reckons the sequel will turn in a stellar performance at retail, forecasting sales of 18+ million copies globally.
Said Hickey: "We believe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will be released in fiscal ’11, likely developed by Sledgehammer Games, and could sell in excess of +18 million units."
As many are no doubt aware, series creator Infinity Ward ran in to quite a spot of trouble earlier this year, with Internet gossip claiming that up to a whopping 50 percent of staff were believed to have quit the company.
Sledgehammer Games is known to be working on a title in the Call of Duty universe, though according to Activision it’ll take the form of an action-adventure title, prompting widespread speculation that it’ll deviate from the traditional first-person antics of previous entries.
Despite this, one only has to have a quick butcher’s at the firm’s official website to find out that it’s "currently in production on a Call of Duty FPS game."
Elsewhere, Hickey reckons an online-only Call of Duty outing will be released in China around the same time, with a Bungie-developed MMO title arriving some time during the next financial year.
Stay tuned for more developments on the Call of Duty franchise here at PSU as they break.