# Inside Sledgehammer Games: The Shift from Advanced Warfare 2 to Modern Warfare 3
## A Change in Plans: Abandoning Advanced Warfare 2
In a surprising pivot within the industry, Sledgehammer Games decided to divert from their original plan to release a sequel to 2014’s Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. Instead of continuing the futuristic saga, the development studio chose to focus on the creation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
This decision was not without its consequences, introducing a significant contraction of the development phase within Sledgehammer Games.
## The Rushed Development of Modern Warfare 3
According to Bloomberg, Sledgehammer Games faced a formidable challenge: they were tasked with producing Modern Warfare 3 in just a year and a half. This timeframe is notably shorter than the typical three-year cycle generally allotted for the development of a Call of Duty game. The expedited schedule came as a result of another Call of Duty title being delayed from its planned 2023 release, necessitating the rush of Modern Warfare 3.
### Conceived as a Full Sequel
Intriguingly, previous reports indicated that Modern Warfare 3 was originally envisioned as an expansion for Modern Warfare 2. However, publisher Activision had grander plans, transforming the potential expansion into a full-fledged sequel. The title underwent significant changes during development: originally set in Mexico, the narrative was rebooted to feature the new villain, Vladimir Makarov.
Aaron Halon, the studio head at Sledgehammer, voiced his perspective on social media, stating, “It has been a labor of love to direct the first consecutive Call of Duty sequel.” He emphasized that the game was always intended to be a premium experience from its inception.
## Modern Warfare 3: The First “Real” Sequel
Modern Warfare 3 holds the distinction of allowing players to retain their agents and skins from Modern Warfare 2, branding it as the franchise’s first “true” sequel. However, this seamless transition was not immediately apparent to many of the team members. It was only later in the development process that employees understood they were working on a sequel rather than an expansion.
This realization led to significant strains on the production team as they worked tirelessly, including nights and weekends, to complete the game on time. The development process was further complicated by the need for Sledgehammer to coordinate with Infinity Ward, the studio traditionally responsible for Modern Warfare titles.
Former and current employees reported feeling a sense of betrayal, having already endured a similar, truncated development cycle with the previous installment, Call of Duty: Vanguard. Despite assurances that such an accelerated timeline would not be repeated, history seemed to repeat itself.
## The Unseen Sequel: Advanced Warfare’s Canceled Future
Another casualty of the redirected development efforts was what could have been the future of Advanced Warfare. Sledgehammer Games had proposed to continue the lineage of the 2014 futuristic shooter under the codename “Anvil.” This venture was shelved in favor of bringing another Modern Warfare installment to life, this one promising the inclusion of a popular zombies mode, new multiplayer maps, and a single-player campaign.
## Launching Into the Fray
Finally, after the tumultuous development journey, Modern Warfare 3 has arrived. The game hit the shelves on November 10, available for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S, ready for players to dive into its reinvented world. Despite the behind-the-scenes challenges, Sledgehammer Games delivered the next chapter in the Call of Duty franchise, with a vision that the future content planned for the community would reflect the team’s ardent dedication and hard work.