Back in May word came out that Activision Blizzard was staffing up its brand new studio in Leeds in West Yorkshire, UK. The publisher didn’t have much to say about the new studio at the time, only that it would be devoted to mobile game development. Good thing too. Activision Blizzard is one of the biggest fish in the increasingly small pond of big budget game development, but it has scarcely any presence in expanding mobile game business. If Activision wants to stay in the moneymaking business, it needs to make mobile games. Good thing its new mobile studio is working on mobile versions of Activision’s biggest moneymaker: Call of Duty.
Videogamer reported on Friday that, according to UK video game industry figure Andy Payne, the Leeds studio was created so it could take over development of all mobile versions of Call of Duty, including both Apple’s iOS devices and handheld gaming machines like PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. “Activision are like a machine. I have to be careful what I say about these guys because I know them so well and they’ll cane me,” said Payne, “They’re very good, and you know what, what people don’t realize with Activision is, the two studios working on the Call of Duty franchise are collaborative studios. That’s unheard of. All of the assets are reusable, so they’re not wasting time.”
That collaborative development process that has studios Treyarch and Infinity Ward working with another (with even more support from Ravensoft, Sledgehammer, and Neversoft) is precisely what will fuel the Leeds studio’s process. “I we were modeling this [room and gear in Call of Duty], we’d have to build this, build that, take time, right? Costs money. The two studios are saying, ‘I need a tank, pull if off from the library.’ And those assets are also going to be starting to be used by the mobile team, which is going to be in based in Leeds.”
What Payne did not confirm is whether this Leeds team is the crew hard at work on Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified. Since the Leeds studio is still gathering staff, it’s unlikely that they’ll do any heavy lifting on the PlayStation Vita title.
For those that don’t know the name, Andy Payne is one of the UK gaming industry’s most recognizable faces. He is the managing director and owner of Mastertronic, works with charity GamesAid, and works with UK trade organizaion UKIE.