Activision recently transitioned virtually all of its studios to work on Call of Duty, as demands increased following the move into live service with Warzone, plus disruption caused by the pandemic on its annual release schedule.
That means developers such as Toys for Bob, known for Crash Bandicoot 4, are now working on Call of Duty. Even Vicarious Visions, creator of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, was recently folded into Blizzard.
Speaking in a new interview with Washington Post following Microsoft’s announcement of its Activision Blizzard acquisition, head of gaming Phil Spencer suggested that he intends to give Activision’s studios more freedom to work on non-CoD projects once the deal completes.
“I was looking at the IP list, I mean, let’s go!” Spencer said. “‘King’s Quest,’ ‘Guitar Hero.’ … I should know this but I think they got ‘HeXen.’”
According to the publication, Spencer said the Xbox team “will talk with developers about working on a variety of franchises” from the Activision Blizzard vaults.
“We’re hoping that we’ll be able to work with them when the deal closes to make sure we have resources to work on franchises that I love from my childhood and that the teams really want to get,” Spencer said. “I’m looking forward to these conversations. I really think it’s about adding resources and increasing capability.”
While the obvious examples include Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, there are other notable franchises in Activision Blizzard’s vaults including Pitfall, Prototype, Singularity, Soldier of Fortune, Spyro the Dragon, True Crime and more.
Speaking in a separate interview with VentureBeat this week, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick – who will continue to serve as CEO throughout the acquisition process, despite discrimination allegations – said he’d like to see Microsoft bring back some currently ‘retired’ series once its acquisition deal has been completed.
Kotick cited Guitar Hero and Skylanders as two franchises that were extremely popular for Activision in the past but were eventually shelved for numerous reasons.
One of these reasons was the need for a separate manufacturing team, something Kotick says he wasn’t prepared to set up but that he feels Microsoft should be equipped for.
He also hopes Microsoft will use its social integration tools to make the Candy Crush series a more engaging multiplayer experience.