Call of Duty franchise reorganised as Sledgehammer takes the reignsPublished by forahobby on Thursday, March 04, 2010
Tagged: Gaming, Xbox 360,
Activision Blizzard has announced that the publisher’s newly formed internal studio, Sledgehammer Games, will handle an iteration of the Call of Duty franchise in 2011, taking over the reigns from franchise stalwarts and creators Infinity Ward.
This news arrives on the back of the revelation that Infinity Ward studio heads and co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella have been let go from their positions after an apparent breach of contract with Activision, in the wake of a worrying period at the developer on Monday that saw strong-arm and intimidation tactics resulting in panicked, “confused” and “freaked out” employees.
Infinity Ward will temporarily be led by Activision CTO Steve Pearce and production head Steve Ackrich, both of whom have backgrounds in Activision Publishing.
Sledgehammer Games, headed up by former EA studio Visceral Games (Dead Space) leadership Glen A. Schofield and Michael Condrey, will work on a 2011 entry to the Call of Duty series (which is said to “extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre”), while Treyarch will continue its collaborative franchise development efforts by releasing 2010’s iteration.
Infinity Ward will continue work on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s two map packs, both of which are due later this year, while Activision claims the studio will remain “central” to the future of the franchise, with rumours that the developer will handle another Call of Duty game in 2011 in addition to Sledgehammer’s game.
Additionally, Activision has set up a business unit to specifically manage the Call of Duty franchise and to promote “various new brand initiatives,” which will be run by Philip Earl, who currently heads up Activision Publishing Asia Pacific.
Through this business unit, Activision will begin to place a heavier focus on “high-margin digital online content,” as well as attempt to create Call of Duty games in a variety of different genres, even alluding to the possibility of a Call of Duty massively multiplayer online game, while Activision Publishing is currently in discussions with a number of select partners “to bring the franchise to Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for online multiplayer games in the world.”
Activision Publishing president Mike Griffith said in a statement:
“2010 will be another important year for the Call of Duty franchise. In addition to continued catalog sales, new downloadable content from Infinity Ward and a new Call of Duty release, we are excited about the opportunity to bring the franchise to new geographies, genres and players.”
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