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Infinity Ward, Neversoft Merging into Single "Super Studio"

Neversoft collaborated on Call of Duty: Ghosts, and now the two companies will be even closer.

Call of Duty: Ghosts developer Infinity Ward is about to get a serious shakeup. Giant Bomb can report the developer is merging with former Tony Hawk's Pro Skater developer Neversoft, who actually helped Infinity Ward out with the development of its last major shooter.

Infinity Ward has seen great change in the last few years. That change isn't over yet.
Infinity Ward has seen great change in the last few years. That change isn't over yet.

The news was disclosed through a very recent internal memo penned by Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, that was obtained by Giant Bomb.

The newly merged studio will still be called Infinity Ward.

"As you know, Neversoft and Infinity Ward teamed up for the development of Call of Duty: Ghosts," wrote Hirshberg. "And through that process, it became clear that the two studios have very complementary skill sets. Between these two excellent studios, it seemed like a single 'super-studio' could emerge."

As a result, however, the Neversoft name will be retired.

"The impact of their 20-year run of hard work and success cannot be overstated," said Hirshberg. "As already mentioned, we are merging these two very talented teams and obviously had to choose a name for the combined studio. Since the Infinity Ward brand is indelibly tied to the Call of Duty franchise, it is the sensible choice. While it will be strange to not see the Neversoft logo on future games, the important things--which are the Neversoft team’s talent, creativity, professionalism and commitment to creative excellence--all remain unchanged as part of this new chapter."

Dave Stohl, currently the executive VP of worldwide studios for Activision, has been assigned to lead this new studio. Stohl has been at Activision for nearly 19 years, and has overseen dramatic changes to Infinity Ward in the past. The current studio head, Steve Ackrich, will remain at Infinity Ward in a leadership role.

There are big changes happening at Neversoft due to the transition, as well. Studio head Joel Jewett and studio director Scott Pease, who have both been at the company for more than 20 years, "have made the difficult decision to retire" from games.

"As a gamer, all I can say is that I hope both Joel and Scott come of 'out of retirement' someday and develop more great Activision games for us all to play," said Hirshberg. "As a colleague of Joel and Scott’s, all I can say is thank you and congratulations on an incredible run."

Jewett and Pease will remain part of Neversoft during the studio's transition, but are expected to leave later this year.

While no new game is mentioned in the memo, it's expected Infinity Ward will continue to develop Call of Duty games. With Sledgehammer Games now part of the development rotation, each of Activision's developers--Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games--has more time to make the next iteration. Given the tepid reaction to Call of Duty: Ghosts, this seems like the right call for the studio.

"I am very much looking forward to what the new Infinity Ward will deliver in the near future," said Hirshberg.

Activision did not respond to my request for official comment. Then again, it is Saturday morning.

Patrick Klepek on Google+