Two of Activision’s most well-known internal development studios are coming together as one, according to a report in Giant Bomb
over the weekend.
Neversoft, best known as creators of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater
franchise, and Infinity Ward, the studio that birthed Call of Duty
will merge under the Infinity Ward name to become a single entity, likely working together on the billion-dollar Call of Duty
Word of the move comes via a “very recent” internal memo from Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, sent out to Activision employees. It was confirmed by a tweet
from Infinity Ward's official account.
The Giant Bomb report notes that Hirshberg did not specify that the "new" Infinity Ward would be working on Call of Duty
games, but this scenario is highly likely. Hirshberg noted that the studios collaborated on Call of Duty: Ghosts
, and earlier this year Activision said the annual franchise would be rotated among three studios
: Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch and Infinity Ward.
The “Neversoft” name will be retired, Hirshberg said, as the Infinity Ward name is more closely tied to the Call of Duty
Activision has had to take steps to reposition the development of the Call of Duty
franchise over the past few years, following the 2010 firings of Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, and the subsequent legal proceedings. West and Zampella went on to form the independent studio Respawn Entertainment, taking along many Infinity Ward developers to create Titanfall
, published by Activision rival Electronic Arts.
The report also notes personnel changes are in the works. Activision’s executive VP of worldwide studios Dave Stohl is leading the new studio, as current Infinity Ward studio head Steve Ackrich will remain in some sort of leadership role.
On Neversoft’s side, studio co-founder and head Joel Jewett and studio director Scott Pease will “retire” from games, the report says.