Activision answers call of duty to open city office in expansion

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ACTIVISION Publishing, the computer games group behind the Call of Duty series, has taken an 11,000 sq ft office in central Leeds as part of a multi-million pound investment in the UK.

The firm, a subsidiary of Californian group Activision Blizzard, will develop titles for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets from its new office, renamed The Blast Furnace, in Broad Gate.

The expansion is part of a “multi-million pound investment programme in the UK” by Activision, according to UKTI.

Broad Gate on The Headrow, owned by Berkshire-based Highcross Developments, was originally built in 1932 and is a listed building. It has been redeveloped by Highcross and features 160,000 sq ft of office space.

Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Marketing Leeds, said: “We are now firmly focused on bringing investment and high-value jobs to Leeds and I’m therefore delighted that Activision has chosen the city as the base for its new UK studio operation.

“Leeds is home to major players in gaming software development and has built a strong reputation for creativity and expertise. The announcement is a major coup and a real vote of confidence in the pool of talent and experience that’s available in this sector here in Leeds.”

The office was leased by DTZ and was originally a department store.

Activision is a global publisher of online, PC, console, handheld and mobile games.

It joins other games firms in Yorkshire including Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar, Team17, the Ossett-based firm behind Worms, and Sumo Digital, the Sheffield-based developer of Doctor Who games.

Eamon Fox, associate director at DTZ, said: “The Broad Gate office scheme is a unique building with superb prominence and stature, offering occupiers’ impressive office accommodation. It was a suitable match for Activision due to its ability to provide the largest floor plate available anywhere within central Leeds.”

Richard Pellatt, director at Highcross, added: “We have enjoyed a high level of letting activity over recent months and securing Activision’s newest global development studio is a major triumph for our building.”

Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey said: “The UK has one of the strongest creative content sectors in the world: we export more TV formats than any other country; we have the world’s third largest film industry; we are Europe’s largest games developer and we are one of only four countries publishing more than 100,000 titles every year.”