Sledgehammer Games co-founders and Call of Duty: WWII directors Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield have left the company they started, Kotaku has learned. Aaron Halon will take over the top role at the studio.
Via promotional Activision video for Call of Duty: WWII
We first heard about the move a couple of weeks ago, and Activision confirmed it today, saying that Condrey and Schofield will stay with the publisher despite departing Sledgehammer. Here’s Activision:
Following the incredible success of Call of Duty: WWII, Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey have decided to transition from their duties at Sledgehammer Games to new executive duties inside Activision. We thank Glen and Michael for their tremendous body of work on Call of Duty and look forward to continuing to collaborate with them in their new roles. These changes have created an opportunity to elevate one of the key leaders at the studio, Aaron Halon, to lead Sledgehammer Games. Aaron is a founding member of Sledgehammer Games and the natural fit to lead the team. He has over 20 years of industry experience and has played an instrumental role throughout the studio’s history. We congratulate Aaron and are thrilled about the future of Sledgehammer Games, which we believe has even bigger days ahead.
It’s a major shakeup for the studio, based in San Mateo, CA, which was founded in July 2009 and quickly purchased by Activision. Sledgehammer co-developed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with Infinity Ward, which had been embroiled in controversy after that studio’s founders, Jason West and Vince Zampella, were abruptly fired by Activision and took many of their co-workers to open up Respawn Games.
After Modern Warfare 3, Sledgehammer developed its own games, Advanced Warfare and last year’s Call of Duty: WWII. This departure comes smack in the middle of DLC season for Call of Duty: WWII, and until a few weeks ago, both Condrey and Schofield had been tweeting frequently about patches and updates to the game.
Before starting Sledgehammer, Condrey and Schofield ran EA’s now-defunct Visceral Games, where they led development on the classic horror game Dead Space.
In an email, Activision provided statements attributed to Schofield:
Michael and I have been collaborating for over 12 years. In that time, we’ve made great games that fans have loved, won awards on behalf of our projects and have lived our dreams. We thank Activision for the wonderful opportunity to create and lead Sledgehammer Games. Now, it’s time to try other things. Activision has offered me the opportunity to focus my energy on something I’m very passionate about, exploring new game ideas for the company. It’s something I just couldn’t pass up. Working with such a great studio of developers at Sledgehammer Games has been an honour and the highlight of my career. The team is in great hands with Aaron, he has my full support and confidence. Thank you to everyone.
We founded Sledgehammer Games to bring together a world class development team with a singular goal of delivering excellence for fans. Over the course of nearly a decade, Glen and I proudly grew the studio and watched a new crop of leaders emerge within the team. On a personal level, I’m deeply grateful to the men and women who have poured their passion into the pursuit of excellence with us. I’m proud of what we accomplished together, it has been the greatest experience of my professional life. I am looking forward to starting a new chapter of my career with Activision. I couldn’t be more excited for the future of Sledgehammer Games and look forward to seeing Aaron lead the studio to new heights.