Confirmed – Sledgehammer developing new Call of Duty for 2011 [Update]

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 21:41 GMT By Johnny Cullen

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Update: It seems the Sledgehammer game is not the 2011 Call of Duty. It’s a totally seperate game from that. An unnamed developer will be handling what is coming that year.

Original Story: Activision’s just announced upstart Sledgehammer will develop a new Call of Duty title for release in 2011.

The firm’s also announced the layoffs of Vince Zampella and Jason West as co-heads of Infinity Ward, with the studio’s CTO, Steve Pierce and head of production, Steve Ackrich in charge until further notice.

“2010 will be another important year for the Call of Duty franchise,” said Acti CEO, Mike Griffith. 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.”

The company’s also announced a new business unit for the franchise that will be headed up by its current boss of the firm’s Asia offices Philip Earl.

This puts to rest speculation on what’s been going on today, from the intital rumour to the most recent report of a meeting between IW and Acti boss Bobby Kotick.

It also confirms rumours dating back to January, when sources told VG247 that Sledgehammer – found by former Visceral bosses Glen Schofield and Michael Condery – would be creating Modern Warfare 3, and not Infinity Ward.

PR below.

Activision Publishing Reveals New Plans for Call of Duty(R) Franchise
–Company to Establish Dedicated Business Unit to Focus on Product Excellence and Brand Expansion –Company Confirms New Call of Duty Game To Be Released in 2011 –Activision Publishing Plans to Launch Call of Duty in New Genres and Asia

SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 2, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ — Activision Publishing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced new strategic plans for the Call of Duty(R) franchise, one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time.

The plans include the formation of a dedicated business unit that will bring together its various new brand initiatives with focused, dedicated resources around the world. The company intends to expand the Call of Duty brand with the same focus seen in its Blizzard(R) Entertainment business unit. This will include a focus on high-margin digital online content and further the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models.

“2010 will be another important year for the Call of Duty franchise,” stated Mike Griffith, President and CEO of Activision Publishing. “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.”

The company expects to release a new Call of Duty game from Treyarch this fall. In addition, Infinity Ward is in development on the first two downloadable map packs for Modern Warfare(R) 2 for release in 2010.

The company is also for the first time announcing that a new game in the Call of Duty series is expected to be released in 2011 and that Sledgehammer Games, a newly formed, wholly owned studio, is in development on a Call of Duty game that will extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre. Sledgehammer is helmed by industry veterans Glen A. Schofield and Michael Condrey. Prior to joining Activision Publishing, Schofield was the Executive Producer of the award-winning game, Dead Space and Michael Condrey was the Sr. Development Director on the game. The Dead Space franchise has won more than 80 industry awards worldwide including the prestigious A.I.A.S. Action Game of the Year and two B.A.F.T.A.S.

The Call of Duty business unit will be led by Philip Earl, who currently runs Activision Publishing’s Asia Pacific region and previously served in senior executive positions with Procter & Gamble and Nestle. Activision Publishing veterans Steve Pearce, chief technology officer and Steve Ackrich, head of production, will lead Infinity Ward on an interim basis. Jason West and Vince Zampella are no longer with Infinity Ward.

Lastly, Activision Publishing announced that the company is in discussions with a select number of partners to bring the franchise to Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for online multiplayer games in the world.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Publishing, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products.

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