Activision has acquired Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward a week before the firm’s critically acclaimed World War II-based first-person shooter launches for the PC, the publisher has announced.
According to Activision, the company has exercised an option to acquire the remaining 70 per cent of outstanding common stock in Infinity Ward, making them a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision and adding them to a stable of FPS development talent which already includes Raven Software.
Industry veterans Grant Collier, Vince Zampella and Jason West will continue to manage Infinity Ward, having signed long-term contracts with Activision. Other key employees have also signed similarly long-term contracts.
Activision Publishing President and CEO Ron Doornink believes that, despite Infinity Ward’s youthful complexion, the acquisition “is aligned with Activision’s strategy to acquire companies with a history of creating high quality products which over time can enhance the company’s financial operating model.”
Although Call of Duty is Infinity Ward’s first game, many of the people working there were responsible for developing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for EA Games whilst still at 2015. MOHAA went on to become one of the most popular first-person shooters of recent years and the game that kicked off the current obsession with World War II-based action titles.
Since then, EA’s LA studio has struggled to recapture the original’s form with a lacklustre expansion pack, Spearhead, and although outsiders TKO Software enjoyed a degree of chart success with MOHAA Breakthrough recently, a widely circulated demo of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty proved more popular with the specialist press.
Call of Duty is part of an umbrella brand of World War II shooters, which will be expanded to include separate console titles ala EA’s Medal of Honor: Frontline during the next year. The first, PC title though is out next Friday, November 7th, is already expected to do well for Activision.
Although EA Games can boast that they have a new Medal of Honor title due out towards the end of November, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, set in the Pacific theatre of war, is going to have a tough time convincing critics next to the charms of Call of Duty. Whether punters flock back to the brand or wise up to the fate of the original MOHAA developer is something that remains to be seen. Activision appear to be banking on the latter.