In a new interview with The Guardian, Activision Blizzard Studio Co-Presidents discussed their initial plans and vision for how they want to develop the Call of Duty cinematic universe, and try to resemble the inter-connected universe that Marvel has created.
Back in 2015, Activision Blizzard announced a new division, Activision Blizzard Studios, which would create TV shows and movies based off of Activision Blizzard’s owned IPs. In their original announcement in 2015, Activision Blizzard stated that they are working on a Call of Duty movie, which was slated for a 2018/2019 release.
From the November 2015 announcement:
Speaking with The Guardian recently, both Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk, co-presidents of Activision Blizzard Studio, have been tasked with creating this cinematic universe for Call of Duty. They have stated that work on multiple different scripts for a Call of Duty movie is already in the works, including working on extensive research with military and soldiers on how they story should be.
Stacey Sher previously worked in high value production roles on Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and more.
“We have plotted out many years,” Sher said to Guardian. “We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going. There’ll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it’s like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on.”
Nick van Dyk, co-president, previously worked as a senior executive at Disney. At Disney, he played a big role in working to acquire Marvel and Star Wars brand into the Disney family. Now, working as the co-president of Activision Blizzard Studios, he plans to use some of what Marvel does in creating an interconnected universe for Call of Duty.
“It’s going to have the same sort of high-adrenaline, high-energy aesthetic as the game, but it’s not a literal adaptation. It’s a much more broad and inclusive, global in scope … a big, tentpole Marvel-esque movie.” Dyk stated. “These individual universes that interconnect and a timeline that makes sense with consistent themes and Easter eggs”.
Activision Blizzard Studios is also interested and working on creating Call of Duty TV series that focuses on World War II and the Vietnam war. The Guardian reports that their focus in this TV-show series is to try and interconnect worlds how Marvel does with their Netflix based TV shows.
“We have a very rich library,” says Van Dyk. “I would say our first order of business is existing current franchises, but there an incredible opportunity to have these hundreds of games that have huge huge followings and tremendous nostalgia. If you look at Marvel, they started working when you had Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, and real film-makers on board as well. What I think made The Avengers so great was the writing and directing. You cared about those characters. If you just chase the empty blockbuster, and have nothing to say in the genre, forget about it.”
Thus far, Activision Blizzard Studios has released one TV show on Netflix based upon Skylanders, Skylanders Academy. The TV has reportedly been a hit, with Netflix already ordering a third season to debut in 2018.
SOURCE: The Guardian (feature image also via Guardian)
Activision issuing “hardware bans” to thwart Warzone cheaters
Activision have confirmed that they are handing out “hardware bans” to banned cheaters who keep making fresh accounts.
Cheaters and hackers have plagued Call of Duty: Warzone since its launch, but on top of account bans, Activision has confirmed that they are issuing hardware bans to thwart repeat offenders.
Cheaters have been a thorn in both players’ and developers’ sides since Warzone launched in 2020. It has been common to run into players blatantly wall-hacking and aim-botting, ruining the game for casual players and pros alike.
Raven Software has been providing regular updates on how many cheaters have been banned, and Activision recently confirmed that 475,000 permabans have been issued since Warzone’s launch. The likely reason why this number is so high is that Warzone is free-to-play. It’s widely believed that even if a cheater’s account gets banned, they can simply create a new one and carry on as if nothing happened.
Activision is aware of this issue and player’s concerns and released an in-depth update on their anti-cheat progress on April 12.
Because so many players have been concerned that account bans are ineffective, Call of Duty staff responded to this, saying that “Removing cheaters and taking away their ability to move to alternate accounts is a key focus for the security teams.”
They confirmed that if you’re cheating, not only could you be unknowingly downloading malware to your system, you could also receive a hardware ban.
To make sure players don’t keep creating fresh accounts to cheat with, Activision said, “We do issue hardware bans against repeat, or serial, cheaters. This is an important part of our effort to combat repeat offenders.”
This means that players who receive a hardware ban will be permanently locked out and won’t be able to simply create a new, free account and go back to their cheating ways.
Activision also confirmed that not only are they targeting individual accounts with cheats installed, but also “the commercial market of cheat providers and resellers.” They revealed that they have recently banned “45,000 fraudulent, black market accounts used by repeat offenders.”
Cheaters will likely still make their way into your Warzone sessions, but Activision is making sure it’s continuously more risky and difficult to do.
In the meantime, you can check out our guide on how to spot cheaters in Warzone so you can assist Activision by reporting these players.
Image Credit: Activision
Report: Activision Blizzard HQ & Treyarch offices set to relocate
A new report states Activision Blizzard will no longer lease its office space in Santa Monica and are actively searching for a new HQ location.
DoTEsports reports that Activision Blizzard and Treyarch have ended their lease at their Santa Monica HQ offices. The company has had the office under their lease for more than a decade.
Per the new report, the teams that work in those spaces will work from home until further notice.
The company is reportedly in search of a new space. An internal memo, which was sent to staff and obtained by DoTEsports, states the company is actively looking for a new office space in the Santa Monica area.
“We have narrowed down the search for our next office location to several properties in the Santa Monica area and we hope to finalize our plans in the coming weeks,” the internal company communication said.
Activision employees have been working from home since March 2020. As of now, the company says they’re on track to return to office by September 1, 2021. The timeline remains unchanged.
Activision’s main headquarters was located in the Santa Monica office on Ocean Blvd in California. Treyarch’s studio space was located right next door to Activision Blizzard HQ in Santa Monica on the first floor of an office building. The two used those buildings for over 10 years now, and are now up for rental and purchase.
Activision has not commented on this information as of now.
Investment group calls out Activision for CEO payout
Activision Blizzard’s CEO continues to rake in bonus after bonus, and now investment firms are questioning the decisions.
An investment firm, CtW, issued a statement report directed at Activision for upcoming bonus pay for their CEO, Bobby Kotick, which is valued at a remarkable $200 million.
The report states that an SEC filing and agreement between Activision Blizzard CEO and the board of directors of the company will allow the CEO to receive a bonus pay of $200 million at the end of this year.
Per the investment group, as released to GameSpot, a loophole created within Bobby Kotick’s employee agreement allows him to claim full bonus payout for previous years regardless of the company’s performance. This loophole is described in the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in Kotick’s employment agreement. He can receive a full performance equity payout from previous years – 2017 and on. That is valued at almost $200 million, which is set to be paid out in cash upon the end date of the incentive provision.
Investment group CtW issued a scathing statement over this, as the company just this week laid off less than 2% of its workforce, which is less than 190 people for “restructuring” purposes. The lay offs impacted Activision Blizzard esports department, alongside the company’s King division.
“While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” director of executive compensation research, Michael Varner, said. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.“
Bobby Kotick already makes $30 million a year from Activision thanks to his base salary and bonus yearly pay. He’s one of gaming’s highest paid executives. Activision continues to report record profits with 2020 being the company’s biggest year yet.
Activision has not commented on the latest developments on this payout.
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