Jason Blundell, Co-Studio Head and Senior Executive Producer at Treyarch, is leaving the studio famous for the Call of Duty Black Ops series before the developer’s 2020 release. Blundell was most well known for directing Zombies mode and maps.
After thirteen years with Treyarch, Jason Blundell is moving on from the game developer, just months before they are expected to release the 2020 installment of Call of Duty that they took over from Sledgehammer.
In a letter posted to Treyarch’s Twitter account, Blundell thanked the company and the Call of Duty fans for the support over the years, especially thanking the Zombies community he was a pivotal part of.
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
Blundell spoke exceptionally highly of the team at Treyarch that works on Zombies: “It’s a team comprised of some of the most creative and talented developers in the industry, many of who you never see because they’re behind the scenes shaping the direction of experience.”
Jason began working on Zombies in 2007, by helping create the map Der Riese for World at War, the first game in the Call of Duty series to feature the now-iconic horde mode.
In a 2016 interview with Gamespot, he said that the original Zombies had “no planning, no funding, and no support for its fledgling horde mode”, and the final product was “relatively bare bones as a result, with only a single room and a rudimentary weapon upgrade system to keep players interested.” He also said Activision was reluctant to include it in the game.
Despite that, Zombies flourished when it entered the Black Ops series, with Blundell taking on more and more responsibility. He introduced the Pack-a-Punch upgrader and the teleporter to the mode, and Zombies blossomed to include more maps in future games with him as director. Infinity Ward added Zombies to their games as well because it was so popular.
He served as Game Director for the Zombies mode for all four games in the Black Ops series, and was promoted to Co-Studio Head in 2016. He departs the company after 13 years.
A departure of this size has worried some fans of Treyarch and the Black Ops series, as the developer is scheduled to put out the next Call of Duty game this calendar year.
Players expressed concern back in 2019 when it was announced that Activision had dropped the 2020 game from Sledgehammer, and moved Treyarch ahead in the dev rotation cycle early. Reports indicate that Sledgehammer is serving as support, with the Black Ops developer leading the way
Very little has been revealed about Call of Duty 2020, except that it will likely not include jetpacks, and is taking place across the entirety of the Cold War. Hopefully, with the strength of two developers, both Treyarch and Sledgehammer can deliver a good game under a tight deadline, but this departure does raise questions about Zombies’ future.