Call of Duty mobile studio Activision Leeds working on new Pitfall

Activision Leeds only just opened for business and already it’s one of the most-discussed mobile game development studios going. That tends to happen when you’re pegged as the house in charge of the mobile future of Activision Blizzard’s multi-billion dollar Call of Duty franchise. The world’s premiere game about shooting people won’t be Activision Leeds’ only domain it seems. Word came out on Monday that the studio’s first project is a little bit more old school: A resurrection of the long dead Pitfall franchise.

Speaking with MCV, Activision Leeds’ Martyn Brown said, “The first game we are making is in fact Pitfall, which is 30-years-old this year. We’ve been working on Pitfall since earlier this year when we set up and it’s been really good to revisit that and bring it to a modern audience.”

The studio will be working on other classic Activision IP as well, “Being able to call upon a wide portfolio of properties is really good for us and we are looking forward to finally showing it to more people.”

As for what platforms it will be showing those games to people on, Brown didn’t say. Reports from last week about the studio’s role with Call of Duty suggested that it will be making both iOS titles and games for handheld consoles like Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.

“In setting up there has been a lot of interest given the publisher we are working with. In the third week of May we revealed we had the studio, and yes it is based in Leeds, and we have hired some key talent in the form of Mark Washbrook and Mark Lloyd,” said Brown. Both Lloyd and Washbrook are former employees of Rockstar Games.

David Crane created the original Pitfal!l for the Atari 2600 back in 1982, and though it hasn’t aged particularly well, that game’s influence can be seen in most big budget titles today. It was one of the very first action games to allow for exploration, as well as the sort of obstacle course run and jumping that preceded even Super Mario Bros.

It was also notable as one of the very first games Activision published. Crane and other Atari developers teamed up to found Activision because they weren’t given proper credit or compensation for their successful games. It’s ironically appropriate then that Activision Leeds is taking over both the franchise born out of the fight for proper creator compensation as well as the franchise best known for Activision’s less than savory current labor practices.

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