Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward and former Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero developer Neversoft are merging to form a new studio. Well, "merge" sounds nicer than what's happening; Infinity Ward is swallowing up Neversoft to form a larger Infinity Ward. According to an internal memo written by Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg and obtained by Giant Bomb, both studios had a good working relationship during the development of Call of Duty: Ghosts and it was decided to make that relationship permanent.
"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."
This is a win for Neversoft, who are still employed despite the fact that Activision doesn't do Guitar Hero or Tony Hawk games anymore. The studio's last standalone title was Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock in 2010.
"The impact of [Neversoft's] 20-year run of hard work and success cannot be overstated," added 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."
Activision executive vice president of worldwide studios Dave Stohl will be leading the new Infinity Ward. Current Infinity Ward boss Steve Ackrich will remain with the studio, while Neversoft founder Joel Jewett and studio director Scott Pease are retiring. Both gentlemen are expected to leave the studio later this year.
Infinity Ward remains in the Call of Duty rotation with Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games. This year's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is coming from Sledgehammer, while next year's CoD will be a Treyarch jam. Infinity Ward's next title will be in 2016.