Future in doubt for Activision’s UK studio The Blast Furnace

Activision is in discussions over the future of UK Call of Duty mobile developer The Blast Furnace.

That’s the careful wording from the global games publisher, which has begun an employee consultation process with the developer’s 47 staff.

The Blast Furnace is best known for creating last year’s smartphone title Call of Duty: Strike Team, but it has also created mobile titles based on Pitfall and Wipeout.

The US games giant appears set to close the studio, but was at pains to tell MCV that it wants to ‘keep The Blast Furnace together and develop a plan that will enable them to remain as a team.’

The company could be planning to sell the studio, help them set up on their own or even find new employment at another studio.

Despite the proposals, MCV understands that Activision remains committed to creating games for mobile platforms.

Activision boss Bobby Kotick said in 2010 that the publisher would only invest in the UK if there is ‘an incentive to do so,’ calling on the UK Government to introduce tax breaks for games development. However, it still opened The Blast Furnace in 2011.

In 2012, the UK Government announced tax breaks for games, which Kotick declared as "a great first step and should put the UK in a stronger position." However, these tax incentives are currently embroiled in red tape at the European Commission.

"We met with The Blast Furnace this morning and are currently discussing options for their future," an Activision spokesperson told MCV.

"The Blast Furnace is a very talented studio and has been a great partner to Activision. Our preference would be to keep the talented group of employees at The Blast Furnace together and develop a plan that would enable them to remain as a team.”

The Blast Furnace was set up in 2011 in Leeds featuring development veterans from Rockstar and Team 17 amongst others. It released its first game, Pitfall, in August 2012.

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