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Treyarch co-studio head left company as details on harassment allegations surface

New report details allegations at Sledgehammer Games and what Activision Blizzard CEO knew about it.

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Treyarch’s co-studio head Dan Bunting has left Treyarch recently, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

In an extensive report from the WSJ, the site states that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew about multiple sexual harassment incidents and failed to properly notify the board of directors or address such situations.

As part of their report, WSJ states that Dan Bunting, Treyarch’s co-studio lead, was accused of sexual harassment in 2017 incident by a co-worker.

An internal investigation stated Bunting should be fired for the situation, but Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stepped in and kept him against the investigation’s results.

Bunting remained Co-Studio Head of Treyarch since then, even leading both Black Ops 4 and Black Ops Cold War development cycles at the studio.

Dan Bunting, co-head of Activision’s Treyarch studio, was accused by a female employee of sexually harassing her in 2017 after a night of drinking, according to people familiar with the incident. Activision’s human-resources department and other supervisors launched an internal investigation in 2019 and recommended that he be fired, but Mr. Kotick intervened to keep him, these people said.

Now, the WSJ reports that following their recent inquiry, Dan Bunting has left Treyarch and Activision.

It’s not clear who is currently leading Treyarch’s team. Mark Gordon was a co-studio head alongside Bunting, but no information confirmed on the new leadership team.

“After considering potential actions in light of that investigation, the company elected not to terminate Mr. Bunting, but instead to impose other disciplinary measures,” said an Activision Spokeswomen about the 2017 incident to WSJ.

The news comes as Activision Blizzard is under fire for multiple sexual harassment claims, pay discrimination, and more across the company.

WSJ also states that there were multiple incidents at Sledgehammer Games back in 2016 and 2017 where Kotick allegedly failed to notify the board of directors about allegations.

Their reporting states that a client claimed she had been raped in 2016 and 2017 by her male supervisor after drinking too much alcohol in office and work events. She reported her incident to HR, but nothing happened, per an email her lawyer sent directly to Activision Blizzard CEO.

The WSJ also reports that CEO Bobby Kotick knew about multiple different incidents at the company and failed to properly notify the board of directors about the investigations and inquiries. He reportedly even called a former female assistance and threatened her.

The Wall Street Journal’s full report is well worth a read.

Activision Blizzard has attempted to make multiple different changes to the company’s work culture to better align with requirements from the employees.

The company has listed out multiple changes, including zero tolerance policy, changes to different leadership positions, and more.

Activision

Microsoft to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard

Microsoft have officially announced that they have acquired Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal costing $70 billion.

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Microsoft has announced that they’re set to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal nearing $70 billion.

Xbox owner Microsoft has announced that they’re taking over Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.

Microsoft said on January 18, 2022, that they’re acquiring Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion to “bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device.”

In a post on the Xbox website, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that “we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.”

And not only that, they said that “Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want.” We’ll need to wait and see how involved Acti-Blizzard will be with Halo.

Phil Spencer said that “until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently.” But once the deal is complete, which is set to close in the fiscal year 2023, Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer.

Image Credit: Activision / Microsoft

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Activision files lawsuit against notable cheat provider EngineOwning

Activision has filed a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of Warzone’s most prolific cheat and hack distributors.

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Activision have made a new attempt to stamp out cheat providers, filing a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of the most prolific distributors of hacks.

Cheating is a major issue in Warzone and despite the introduction of the RICOCHET anti-cheat system, hacking is still running wild on Caldera. In fact, these cheaters are so brazen, they’ve started to actively mock developers Raven with their in-game names.

It should come as no surprise that Activision are trying to shut down these cheaters for good, and the publishers of Call of Duty have once again filed a lawsuit against a site that distributes these hacks.

In a suit filed in the State of California on January 4, Activision took aim at EngineOwning, claiming that their cheats have caused “millions of dollars” in damages, and that they are “developing new cheating software” for another of their titles in Overwatch.

Activision is seeking “to put a stop to unlawful conduct by an organization that is distributing and selling for profit numerous malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair advantages.”

“These ongoing activities damage Activision’s games, its overall business, and the experience of the CoD player community,” it continues. “This Court must put a stop to [the] defendants’ misconduct, and Activision is entitled to monetary damages, injuctive and other equitable relief, and punitive damages.”

EngineOwning is one of the largest cheat providers for Call of Duty right now, with the cheat provider continuously attempting to circumvent Activision’s anti-cheat efforts. EngineOwning’s next steps are unclear, and it remains to be seen whether the operation, which is allegedly maintained by an individual in Germany, is shut down.

Activision has made efforts as of December to stop hackers in Call of Duty with the launch of RICOCHET Anti-Cheat software, including a PC kernel-level driver for Warzone.

This system has had successes, with 48,000 cheaters banned in December, leaving hackers begging Activision for a second chance.

Image Credits: Activision / Raven Software / Ekaterina Bolovtsova: Pexels

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Leaker claims Activision is considering changing Call of Duty’s annual release schedule

A leaker has suggested that Activision’s annual CoD release may be coming to an end with extended cycles being considered.

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A new Call of Duty title is released every year, with multiple studios taking it in turns to bring out a new game. A new leak however has made the bold claim that Activision may be thinking about changing its release schedule and model.

It’s become a given that a new CoD game will be released in November of each year, with the likes of Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Infinity Ward all taking it in turns to develop a new game.

2019 saw the release of IW’s Modern Warfare reboot, 2020 was Treyarch’s Black Ops Cold War, and this year has seen the release of Sledgehammer Games’ Vanguard.

It’s already rumored that Modern Warfare 2 is in the works for 2022, but depending on Activision’s approach, they may opt to change their release policy, starting with MW2.

Leaks seem to happen left, right, and center these days, with people able to learn a great deal of information about projects and plans, many of which turn out to be true.

The new Call of Duty rumor comes from leaker Ralph, who recently claimed that the reported Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer remaster has been canceled, and thinks that annual releases are being reconsidered.

A recent Tweet from them quite simply said: “Activision are reportedly in discussion for extending Call of Duty’s annual releases.”

As with any leak, this should be taken with a major pinch of salt. RalphsValve has recently come under scrutiny from fellow leakers regarding the accuracy of his claims.

With the rumored 2022 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 title still potentially a year out, maybe two now, things can always change, and we’d recommend taking these claims with a pinch of salt.

Furthermore, given how much this could change the Call of Duty landscape going forward, we’d also strongly recommend waiting for official confirmation from Activision before assuming this is the direction CoD will be going in the future.


For more Call of Duty news, take a look at when Vanguard and Warzone Season 1 starts.

Image Credit: Activision / Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer Games

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