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Sledgehammer Games now working on multiple projects, hiring 100+ devs over next year

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Sledgehammer games rumored to make CoD 2021

Sledgehammer Games has seen its fair share of ups and downs since the studio initially started back in 2010. The studio was co-founded by Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield, two former EA VPs who worked on Dead Space franchise.

The studio started its Call of Duty journey by co-developing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with Infinity Ward in 2011. After that, Activision shifted Call of Duty to a 3 year developer cycle starting in 2014, when Sledgehammer Games worked on their own Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, then launched Call of Duty: WWII in 2017.

The studio had a rough year in 2018 when both co-founders left the company, and many developers left Sledgehammer to follow Condrey and Schofield to their respective new places.

Now, the studio appears to have stablized and picked back up going into the future. The studio started its ‘Decade II’ in August 2019, and the studio’s new COO Andy Wilson says they have setup a clear patch for the future. In an interview with VentureBeat, Wilson talks about the studio and what’s happening.

The studio is now working on multiple projects, presumably within Call of Duty world, and is looking to hire 100 more developers for their San Francisco, CA and Melbourne, AU office.

The point was to treat that moment as the first day of the second age of Sledgehammer Games and not just a celebration of what came before, because for all the studio’s success we could see there was so much we could do going-forward: culturally for certain, but also in terms of structure, the move to more than one project, the continued growth of the team in Melbourne and so on. The great thing about Decade II, Day One was that was actually the end-point of months of solid work to establish a clear plan for the future. The result is a team and studio with a clear roadmap and an enormous opportunity ahead of it, with a lot of great new team members signing up for the journey.

He confirmed that the studio is now multi-project based and is actively hiring. They currently have 200 people and want to add 100 more.

We’re now a multi-project studio and we’re looking for a substantial number of new team members to join us. We’re looking across every discipline and various levels of seniority. It’s a pretty exciting time for our studio.

It’s not clear yet what exactly the multi-projects the studio is working on. In May 2019, it was reported that Sledgehammer and Raven faced hardships on the work for 2020 Call of Duty, and Activision put Treyarch in charge of this year’s game. There still is no info on what the 2020 Call of Duty game and is if Sledgehammer is contributing to that project.

As always, stay tuned.

Activision

Johanna Faries named new Call of Duty General Manager

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Johanna Faries Call of Duty General Manager

Activision Blizzard announced that Johanna Faries had been named the new General Manager of the Call of Duty franchise.

Call of Duty is arguably the biggest franchise in the video game world and one of the top entities in all of entertainment. With great success this past year thanks to Black Ops Cold War and Warzone, Activision Blizzard has officially decided who will lead the franchise into the future.

This week, Activision announced that Johanna Faries has been named the new General Manager of the Call of Duty franchise. In her expanded role, she will have management oversight of every angle of the high-profile first-person shooter franchise going forward.

Johanna Faries Call of Duty General Manager

“Since joining Activision Blizzard, I’ve had the opportunity of a lifetime to set a new and dynamic vision for Call of Duty eSports alongside an incredibly talented team of colleagues, players, owners, and partners. In the process, I’ve been on the front lines of the Call of Duty franchise, working closely with our studio and marketing teams to deliver breakthrough experiences for players and fans the world over,” said Faries to GameInformer. “Call of Duty has made an immeasurable impact on the world of gaming and entertainment and is a bona fide cultural phenomenon. I can’t wait to help usher the franchise into its next chapter, and to continue to unlock the power that Call of Duty holds for the future of competitive entertainment.”

Faries is far from new when it comes to Call of Duty. She first joined Activision Blizzard in 2018 as the Head of Call of Duty Esports. Her goal when joining the company to create the franchised Call of Duty League, which lead to her becoming the Call of Duty League Commissioner and subsequently the Head of Leagues at Activision Blizzard, including the Overwatch League over the last 3 years.

The National Football League is where Johanna Faries called home before Activision Blizzard, where she spent 12 years as an executive.

With Call of Duty continuing its reign as a heavyweight in the video game world and Black Ops Cold War and Warzone kicking off Season 3 that saw the introduction of the new Verdansk ’84 map, there is no more exciting time to see where Johanna Faries will help take the franchise in the future.

Image Credits: Activision Blizzard

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Premium Call of Duty games will be revealed later in the year than usual

Activision confirms Warzone’s success has had an impact on Call of Duty marketing decisions.

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With the success of Call of Duty: Warzone and the post launch campaigns, Activision has acknowledged that they are experiencing a shift in their marketing of Call of Duty.

The Call of Duty marketing machine has been in almost a consistent pattern for years. A new game gets announced in May, MP reveal over the summer, potential beta in August/September, and then a release in October/November. It’s been systematic.

That entire process has been upended with the launch of Call of Duty: Warzone. With the game’s success and continued post launch campaign seasons ongoing, there’s a lot to talk about now without having to shift attention to the latest premium release so early.

And, Activision’s President is acknowledging this shift in Call of Duty marketing plans. When asked in a new interview with VentureBeat about revealing new CoD games later in the year, Kostich states “we’re probably shifting a bit more in that direction.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the first to experience this. The game, which fans hoped would be announced in the similar schedule in May, was only revealed in end of August. The reveal event occurred within Call of Duty: Warzone, a new way for Activision to engage the fan base.

Kostich says that the reason for the change in reveal time frame is what we’re seeing right now. “You’ve seen what we have in season three this week. We have so much to talk about and so much going on that’s happening this week. We want to focus on that with the community, focus on the journey with them.”

He reiterated how Black Ops reveal was able to be apart of Warzone, something Activision has never been able to do before. “We did some cool things in terms of integrating the reveal of Black Ops into Warzone. Those are the things we want to orchestrate and provide to our community, letting them discover Call of Duty themselves in their play experience.”

Kostich confirms that “marketing is changing within Call of Duty, how we get the community to participate and uncover things for us.

He states that reveals of premium CoD games “might be happening later, but it’s all part of a broader agenda to bring the community along on a fun journey.”

How this impacts Call of Duty 2021 release timing will be interesting to watch. Activision has steep competition this year with EA releasing Battlefield game and Xbox releasing Halo Infinite.

As always, stay tuned for the latest news on Call of Duty.

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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.

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Call of Duty Warzone gameplay

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.

Helicopters flying to Warzone's Verdansk Stadium

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

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