Sledgehammer’s senior creative director, Bret Robbins, leaves to establish Ascendant Studios

Former Sledgehammer Games’ senior creative director, Bret Robbins, has announced he’s setting up his own studio, Ascendant Studios.

Based in San Francisco, Ascendant Studios – not to be confused with VR developer, Ascendant Studio – has already secured funding from Vista Equity Partners co-founder and president, Brian Sheth. According to an interview with, the team has already started development on the studio’s inaugural title. Robbins plans to employ upwards of 100 developers over the next twelve months, and has already established a leadership team of "industry veterans".

Robbins has creative director credits on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Advanced Warfare, and WW2. Prior to that, he served as a creative director on Electronic Art’s horror, Dead Space.

"I want to make a big game, one that’s right up there with the best games ever made," Robbins told "It’s just a matter of being pretty rigorous with reviewing and analyzing work and communication. Really being able to communicate a vision well to the team is hugely important. One of the things that’s the hardest to do, especially when you’re starting something new, is keeping everyone aligned around a particular idea or vision. 

"You end up putting a lot of practices in place to evangelize that vision, make it crystal clear to everyone so everyone knows what we’re working on, knows the goal, and understands how to get there. You have to really rely on the people you hire. It’s important that you listen to them all the time. They’ll have answers I won’t have, because they’re the experts in their field.

"Games have gotten better and better, and reaching that quality bar that the best games out there do isn’t easy," he concluded. "But I’ve been there before. I understand the process, I understand what it takes, so I feel fairly confident about that."

Ascendant Studios is hiring now.

Sledgehammer Games co-founder, former Electronic Arts and Activision executive Michael Condrey, has joined 2K to lead its new Silicon Valley studio as president, while the other co-founder Glen Schofield, has also now left Activision Blizzard.

"I’ve had a great run here at Activision; 3 CODs – MW3, AW and WWll – that I’m proud of," Schofield said in a tweet at the time. "I feel it’s time to try something new [though]. I’ll be leaving Activision end of Dec. and taking some time off to relax. Then off to something else exciting. Thank [you] Activision for everything!"

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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