Activision has announced the opening of Sledgehammer Games, a new studio that will be headed by former Visceral executives Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey.

Schofield and Condrey were formerly the general manager and chief operating officer, respectively, at the EA-owned studio Visceral Games, where they played prominent roles in the development of the award-winning game Dead Space, Schofield as executive producer and Condrey senior development director. The pair departed for the greener pastures of Activision in July and will assume the same roles at Sledgehammer that they held at Visceral.

“This was an opportunity for us to assemble a world-class team made up of developers with a proven track record in delivering top-rated games,” Schofield said. “We know what it takes to develop a Game of the Year title, and we also know that the title needs the support of a strong publisher to make the game a success.”

“Activision Blizzard’s independent studio model is very empowering,” added Condrey. “We have a fantastic new studio facility, the foundation for a world-class team and the backing of the industry’s most profitable game publisher. This was a rare opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”

It’s hard to imagine that this isn’t a real kick in the ass for EA management. Not only did a couple of their top guys fly the coop for the competition, but they’re launching a brand new studio to great fanfare the day after the floundering EA closed the doors at Pandemic. There is one potential upside, however; Sledgehammer is “actively recruiting” talent to work on its first, unannounced project, which could be a boon for a lot of EA employees left jobless by its recent troubles.

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