The creator of the fan-favourite Call of Duty zombies mode, Jason Blundell, has left Call of Duty developer Treyarch.
After 13 years at the studio – most recently as co-studio head – Blundell released a statement on Treyarch’s social media channels, thanking both the team and the community for “memories [he] will cherish for a lifetime”.
We wish to thank Jason for his many contributions to Treyarch. We’ve enjoyed our journey together and wish him the very best going forward! pic.twitter.com/Tb8o36VWb2
— Treyarch Studios (@Treyarch) February 28, 2020
“After thirteen fantastic action-packed years, I am moving on from Treyarch,” Blundell wrote in his statement (thanks, Eurogamer). “During my time at the studio, I’ve been privileged to work on a variety of projects, wearing many hats along the way, with my time on the zombies team proving to be quite special. It’s a team comprised of some of the most creative and talented developers in the industry, many of whom you never see bevceaudr they’re behind the scenes shaping the direction of each experience.
“Clearly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t personally thank the group that continues to make it all worth it: the zombies community! Your passion, enthusiasm – and frankly, your craziness – has been a continued source of inspiration. The beauty of zombies is that it has always been about the interaction between us as developers and one of the most passionate player-communities on the planet. These are memories I will cherish for a lifetime.
“The team at Treyarch has been nothing short of awesome – thank you!” he concluded. “And thank you to the fans for giving me the opportunity to bring life to the undead in so many wonderful ways, the honour has been all mine!”
“We wish to thank Jason for his many contributions to Treyarch,” said a tweet sent out on the official Treyarch twitter account. “We’ve enjoyed our journey together and wish him the very best going forward!”
Blundell has not as yet expanded on what he’s moving on to do.
Last year a damning report of crunch at Call of Duty developer Treyarch indicated that many contract employees – particularly testers working in QA – reported “they feel like second-class citizens”. The report, which featured interviews with 11 current and former staff from the studio, stated QA staff are forced to use a different car park from the non-testing development team, sit on a different floor, and whilst they are fed during crunch, they’re purportedly told “not to eat the lunch provided to non-testing developers until an hour after it’s been served” (or sometimes “not at all”).
There are also reports that when Treyarch sends out staff surveys, testers aren’t included, nor are they invited to all-staff meetings. They also do not qualify for paid time-off and have limited sick pay.
In response, Treyarch said: “Game development is a wildly complex art and it requires a diverse set of people and skill sets to do it successfully. It’s important for all of us to foster a studio culture that treats all team members with respect. We appreciate the contributions made by all parts of the team in the name of the games we make.”