Treyarch is an Activision-owned game development studio jointly responsible for the primary direction of the Call of Duty (initially started by Infinity Ward) and Spiderman (initially developed by Neversoft in its current form) video game franchises.
Treyarch was founded as an independent game development studio in 1996 by Peter Akemann and Don Likeness in Santa Monica, California. The company's original name was Treyarch Invention, LLC and initially found critical success with their original title, " Die By the Sword" and its expansion pack, " Limb From Limb", both published by Interplay. Rapidly growing in size, Treyarch immedietly branched out and released their first sports title, Triple Play 2000, for Electronic Arts in 1999 and its followup the following year.
In 2000, Treyarch released their first Dreamcast games: the Mattel-licensed Max Steel: Covert Operations and their original title, Draconus: Cult of the Wurm. While neither would be critial or commercial hits, they provided the company with their first experience with the hardware that would ultimately bring them under Activision's umbrella. They were contracted to port the game Spider-Man (a major hit from the previous year) from the Playstation to the Dreamcast, winning them praise for developing inarguably the best version of the title yet, though the lack of any new content on a game that was over six months old tended to impact the final review scores. While Neversoft's original version received a Metacritic average of 87, Treyarch's port received a composite score of 80.
The sports division at Treyarch remained busy churning out favorably received updates to the NHL 2K series (NHL 2K2 and NHL 2K3) for 2K Sports, Triple Play Baseball series for Electronic Arts, and developing the extreme sports / surfing title, "Kelly Slater Pro Surfer" for Activision. Their next non-sports title would be Minority Report in 2002, very loosely based on the film of the same title. Critics were strongly negative towards the title (X-Play named it one of the worst PS2 titles of all time in June of 2006), but it has retained a cult following on the internet for its indepth three dimensional beat 'em up combat engine.
Activision purchased Treyarch outright in October of 2001 and it was in 2002 that Treyarch was able to finally catapault into the public spotlight with the high sales of their original Spider-Man title (based on the 2002 film of the same name). Despite criticism regarding the quality of the voice acting, game length and indoor camera behavior, reviewers rated the title positively and it went on to sell over three million copies across the console platforms. This success resulted in Treyarch being assigned work on the similarly well received sequel (Spider-Man 2)