The ARG Surrounding Call of Duty 2020 Is a Fantastic Exercise in Community Spirit


Call of Duty, which many are assuming will be another entry in the Black Ops series, is due to be officially announced very soon. However, even if the game’s announcement is met with nothing but a wave of backlash from fans, the lead up will always be known as nothing short of a fantastic example of community building.

Hints of this year’s Call of Duty have been dropped with a number of streamers and press outlets. Though not in the way you’d expect. Instead of simply sending information via email, or even just a letter, Activision has done something much much more insane. The company has sent these content creators a create each. Inside those crates were a series of slides, and various types of projector. Whilst some people got the same type or projector, most were unique in some way. I suspect that this is because some poor soul at Activision was tasked with buying 50 or so slide projectors in 2020. They then struggled to find 50 of the same device.

Regardless of why the projectors are different, the end result is the same. Each content creator now has a projector, a set of slides, and a community with which to try to solve an ARG game that ended with the news that a tease for the game is coming this week. It’s been going on for about one week at this point. Things have really spiced up since the projectors were sent out.

Content creators have been sharing the images, diving into them just about as deep as you can. These are people who are dedicating days to researching old maps and photos in an effort to understand the slides they now have. Their communities are also helping them, and it has led to some mixed results. Numbers have been found, both on the slides and in old game maps in Call of Duty games. Finally the puzzle was solved with this news that we’re going to get an official tease for the next Call of Duty game.

Great Community Management

I don’t think it would even matter if the riddle is never solved though. What Activision has achieved here is bringing the full force of the Call of Duty community back together. Some players lapsed from the franchise due to not liking one release or another. Warzone brought some of them back, but even people like me still refrain from playing the releases as they come out. Now however, we’re all invested in trying to understand what this ARG is telling us.

The beauty of the ARG is that it also leans quite heavily on the Black Ops series. Which is easily the most popular in the Call of Duty franchise. I believe that it’s where the games found themselves, and really carved out an identity unique to shooters. Sadly it was quickly lost, but those games have always been special to the community as a whole. Now Activision is doing more than simply referring players to a website like to get updates via an image on what the latest game could be. They’re actively making the community work together in order to solve a puzzle. Rebuilding and reuniting their players before the reveal of their brand new game.

This reveal may be a flop. But it should go down in history as one of the best examples of community management in games.

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