Ubisoft has acquired DJ Hero and Guitar Hero Live studio FreeStyleGames from Activision. The UK studio, based in Leamington Spa, will be renamed Ubisoft Leamington and will be headed up by Richard Blenkinsop, the new managing director at Ubisoft Reflections.
Announced via blog post on Ubisoft’s website, Ubisoft Leamington will be working with Ubisoft Reflections (who are based in Newcastle and were involved in the development of Grow Home and The Crew) as well as Ubisoft’s other studios to help develop triple-A titles.
We’re thrilled to have their expertise within the group,” Blenkinsop stated. The team at Reflections are looking forward to creating great things together!”
Blenkinsop has previously worked as producer, senior producer and executive producer on a variety of titles at both Activision and Codemasters, including Call of Duty 3 and Rome: Total War. He then joined Ubisoft Reflections in 2012 and has since worked on The Crew and Tom Clancy’s The Division, before becoming associate managing director of Reflections in 2014.
As for the fate of FreeStyleGames’ current titles, most notably Guitar Hero Live, Activision has confirmed to Eurogamer that the game will continue to receive support from the company despite the studio having now been picked up by Ubisoft:
"We can confirm that FreeStyleGames has been integrated within Ubisoft’s global network of development studios. We would like to thank the very talented team at FreeStyleGames for their many years of creative partnership and wish them well as they begin a new chapter in the studio’s history.
"Activision Blizzard remains fully committed to the UK games industry, and our teams based across the UK. The Guitar Hero TV platform will continue to be supported by Activision Publishing."
Guitar Hero Live struggled to meet expectations when it launched back in 2015, resulting in a number of lay-offs at FreeStyleGames in April last year. Following the studio’s restructure, remaining employees were then relocated onto other Activision projects within the company.