Today on the first day of BlizzCon, gaming giant Activision Blizzard announced the formation of Activision Blizzard Studios, an in house studio to create original movies and television based on Blizzard properties.
Announced this morning in a press release, Activision Blizzard Studios has expressed their intention to create content based on Skylanders, Call of Duty, Diablo, HearthStone and StarCraft. Activision Blizzard Studios has hit the ground running with the announcement of Skylanders Academy, an animated TV show based on the toys-to-life Skylanders series.
Currently in production under the supervision of showrunner Eric Rogers ("Futurama"), "Skylanders™ Academy" will feature the voices of Justin Long("Alvin and the Chipmunks," "Ask Me Anything") as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale ("Phineas and Ferb," "High School Musical") as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks("Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul") as Eruptor and Norm Macdonald ("Saturday Night Live") as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes Harland Williams and Richard Horvitz.
The second major priority announced by Acivision Blizzard today was the formation of a cinematic universe based around the Call of Duty franchise. Activision Blizzard Studios stated that they envision "a series of Call of Duty feature films as well as the possibility of television adaptations."
Nick van Dyk, a former disney executive was named as the co-president of this new studio, with another creative executive to be named later. His responsibilities and history was further broken down in the press release
Van Dyk will have responsibility for distribution, physical production, strategy, finance and operations and will co-manage all aspects of the studio. Before joining Activision Blizzard last year, van Dyk spent nine years at Disney where, as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, he helped drive Disney's focus on franchise intellectual property and played a significant role in the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.
Activision Blizzard seems to have the dedication and talent to make their multimedia empire a reality. It will be interesting to see how the new movement of in-house gaming media development will play out.
This is hardly surprising. Video game movies have never had much success and recently, Ubisoft took a new, more direct approach to getting the Assassin's Creed movie made. With the sheer size and profitability of Activision Blizzard, it makes sense that they would want to take direct control of their media empire. We'll just have to see if they build in many microtransactions to the Skylanders series.