Giant Bomb News


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.

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+
Edited by President_Barackbar

Play some sad Ska trombone for Neversoft.

@sdhero said:

Yet another studio is sacrificed to Call of Duty by Activision in the name of profit. And people hate EA for some reason.

You are of course aware it is possible to hate multiple companies, yes? I can't stand either of them.

Posted by ILikePopCans


I hope this means the next IW COD will have a skateboard mini game

Posted by HammondofTexas


Posted by falling_fast

i really don't care anymore

Posted by darthslughorn

Am I the only person who still wants another real Tony Hawk game? Hello? Activision?

Posted by StriderNo9

Scooped! Also RIP Neversoft.

Posted by GLRockwell

Neversoft/ Infinity Ward, Never Ward Infinity Soft, Infinity Soft Never Ward. Yeah probably sticking with Infinity Ward was the way to go. Rest in Peace Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk we hardly knew ye.

Posted by mrfluke

finally scoopz is back to delivering hot scoopz, everytime i lose the love for patrick, i see stuff like this and im right back

This move makes sense for activision to do though, given infinity ward is kind of a ghost* of a studio it once was (*terrible pun was not intended) merging them with neversoft makes sense, Call of duty still prints hell of money. and they are probably looking towards destiny to be another huge money maker.

Posted by rmanthorp

Repost from Twitter: Neverward is a weird one... I loved both of those studios at a point & haven't thought about either in years... Glad it wasn't a closure??


Edited by Video_Game_King

Anybody else thinking of this upon reading the blurb:

Posted by jiggajoe14

patrick bringing that 2 scoops of raisins goodiness

Posted by Conciliator

desperate measures to find a way to keep AAA going into the new gen.

Posted by AlexanderSheen


Posted by Oldirtybearon

RIP Neversoft. You made awesome games once upon a time.

Posted by Hailinel

Scoops, scoopin' scoops.

But, given the general quality of Ghosts, I'd hesitate to call this merging a "super" studio. Ghosts was arguably the worst game in the franchis, by all accounts I've heard.

Posted by ChrisHarris

@sdhero said:

Yet another studio is sacrificed to Call of Duty by Activision in the name of profit. And people hate EA for some reason.

It's because they have a long history of doing the same thing. They just don't have anything as big as a Call of Duty to show for it. Some of the studios absorbed by EA include: Origin, Westwood, Bullfrog, Mythic, Pandemic, Black Box, Criterion, Visceral, etc. Those will most likely have some company from Maxis, Dice, and/or BioWare soon. Place your bets.

Posted by IanYarborough

@patrickklepek Earning that nickname a thousand times over. Well done, Tricky.

Posted by AMyggen

Patrick must have some good contacts inside IW, given his history of reporting on the studio.

Anyways, Neversoft is obviously just a shadow of what it once was, and hasn't released a full game since 2010. They were already pretty much just working on CoD, so I guess this makes sense. Still makes me a bit sad though, THPS 3 is up there among my absolute favourite games of all time. THPS 2 too, for that matter. RIP Neversoft and your goofy eyeball logo.

Posted by Adaptor

Now they can slave away at annual sequels in anonymity. Yay!

(BTW: I like CoD but they really need to start doing something innovative again...)

Posted by MannyMAR

I wonder if they'll change the name to something like Infinity Soft, or hilariously Never Ward.

Posted by Crippl3
@hailinel said:

Scoops, scoopin' scoops.

But, given the general quality of Ghosts, I'd hesitate to call this merging a "super" studio. Ghosts was arguably the worst game in the franchis, by all accounts I've heard.

I don't know if I'd call it the worst, Call of Duty 3 (a Treyarch joint) was terrible. But Ghosts is nowhere near as good as the last few games, especially Black Ops 2.

Posted by ZeroCrescent

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Super-Studio!

Posted by flasaltine

Is this a hot scoop?

Posted by cooljammer00

RIP the eyeball with the stake going through it at the start of all those Tony Hawk games

Posted by MarkWahlberg

Anybody else thinking of this upon reading the blurb:

I think this is the rare case where 'am I the only one who -' is actually, yes, you are the only one.

Posted by MarkOnFire

I'd be interested to see the turnover at the studio over the last decade (from Tony Hawk to derivative Guitar Hero games to CoD support) and hear if the remaining staff sees this as a positive step forward for them.

Edited by Corevi

So when is Tony Hawk's Call of Duty: The Beatles?

Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

Well, this is certainly interesting just given Infinity Ward's and Neversoft's history being extremely similar, albeit with Call of Duty having more success. Is it possible that Call of Duty will be reinvigorated? I'm going to guess no but anything is possible.

Posted by crithon

does the name brand of infinity ward really matter that much? I'm surprised they didn't go like 2K and Rockstar and then location names.

Edited by zeo12

Well im off to connect my gamecube and play tony hawk 3 , for neversoft...

Posted by oobs

normally they would rename them? call them something new? just goes to show they rely on a name more than a product

Posted by Generic_username

Pour one out for a classic name.

So long Neversoft, you did a lot for gaming.

Posted by Encephalon


Posted by development

Skateboards confirmed for the next CoD. I'm back in.

Posted by Jesus_Phish

@tinodz: I came here to make sure someone posted this song. Thanks for keeping the memory alive.

Kinda sucks to hear, Neversoft made a series of games that played a large role in my life. But how much of Neversoft is still Neversoft to this day?

Posted by Tomba_be

I guess only suits can think that merging two studios after most of the talented people have left, will somehow make a new studio that won't suck. It's probably an excuse to fire some more people and have the remainder make more shovelware games on a shoe string budget.

Posted by ripelivejam


Edited by MonkeyKing1969

I would have just tajen teh letters in both companies names and jumbled them up to make two new words....maybe they could be called FERVENT INFINITARY or INFANT SOFTENER.

Edited by patrickklepek

@bollard said:

RIP in pieces Neversoft.

The news was disclosed through a very recent internal memo

I always find this interesting. If it was an internal memo why does the media get ahold of it? Leaky employees? Another thing I will never understand is why these "internal memos" are written like they are a press release.

You've answered your own question. Company-wide memos are expected to get leaked.

Posted by Jazz_Bcaz

It's a new gen and AAA is getting even more bloated. I don't see how they will ever not make a COD, not that that was in any doubt. Surely no other IP can support a studio like that.

Posted by Lurkero

Guess this means Neversoft wasn't secretly working on a new creative project. Disappointing.

Edited by Cybexx

I guess Raven continues as their own studio because they work will all the CoD studios on the multiplayer.

Posted by dr_mantas

This would have been huge news.

A few years ago.

Posted by LarcenousLaugh

Scoops has Infinity Ward down to a science. Nice work, Patrick!

Posted by ChrisHarris

@monkeyking1969 said:

I would have just tajen teh letters in both companies names and jumbled them up to make two new words....maybe they could be called FERVENT INFINITARY or INFANT SOFTENER.

Posted by Mr_BNuts
Posted by McHampton

I'm curious who actually used the phrase, "super studio" and if they feel any shame at all.

Posted by RonGalaxy

Saturday Night Scoopin'

Posted by Fuwano

"have made the difficult decision to retire"

Uhh, yeah sure.