Sledgehammer Games turns 2 years old!


Hard to believe it's been two years since we formed Sledgehammer Games. Since then, some of the most passionate and talented developers I have ever worked with have taken a chance with us. It means so much to Michael and I to have such a dedicated group to work with. It didn't take long for Activision to realize the talent here and offer us the opportunity of a lifetime - working with Infinity Ward on Modern Warfare 3.  For that we are extremely appreciative.

We have so many people to thank, but none more than our families and friends who support us no matter what. You allow us to follow our dreams and turn our passion into a career. You are there for us and your patience during the final months of a game is what helps make a good game great. We are eternally thankful.

It's been an amazing 24 months for Sledgehammer Games, but we're just getting started. We make games for a living and we work for a great company that has given us opportunities we could only dream of. Today we are laser focused on MW3 and delivering the best game of our lives for the millions of fans who have embraced us.

The sky is the limit for this talented team. I know I speak for Michael when I say we are two of the luckiest guys in the game industry.

Thank you,


Written by Glen Schofield

Categories People, Culture

Question of the Week | 7-21-2011


In your Coronado blog you mentioned two books you read about the Navy Seals. Can you tell us more about how you research to make your game realistic? Are there other books you recommend? What movies do you guys watch for inspiration?

- James, from Vancouver WA.


Hi James,

Finally, a Q of the Week that isn't "Where the #$%& is the #MW3 Spec Ops video?" ;) The answer to that is still: "Coming, promise."

On to your question!

Authentic interactive representations of modern military conflict are a cornerstone value of the Call of Duty franchise. Sledgehammer Games has a lot of experience in the FPS genre, as well as years of built up knowledge of modern combat and tactics.  Many of the developers here at Sledgehammer Games, me included, have been developing First Person Shooters for more than a decade. We are all rabid FPS gamers. Some members of the development team have past military experience we draw from directly. Military strategies and technology move forward at remarkable rates though. While we draw heavily on the team's existing knowledge base and IW's long established track record with Call of Duty, we also invest a lot of energy in staying up to speed on the very latest military advances. 

One of our best research tools is working closely with specialized experts, both active and retired, from different branches of the US Military including the Navy Seals and Delta Force.  We work closely together on many aspects of the game design, and they have been useful in leveraging their contacts to set up offsite activities that put us straight into the boots of today's soldiers.  Recently some of us were able to fly a Marine training mission in a V22 Osprey, for example. For our audio team, animators, artists and designers, it gave us an incredibly intimate and up close view of one of the most advanced exfil vehicles in action today. On another research trip, we got exclusive access to the Navy Seal BUD/S training facility at on Coronado.  More details about that trip can also be found here:

We read a ton of non-fiction accounts and consume tons of films, both documentaries and fictional military movies, at an incredible rate.  Fortunately for us, the Navy Seal's take down of Bin Laden has resulted in a wealth of Spec Ops articles and books flooding the market.  My "to read" stack has grown nicely since May. The books in my office, which represent just a fraction of the library at Sledgehammer Games, are consistently changing as I find new books to read and lend books out to others. Currently, the collection includes:

  • Secret Commandos by John Plaster
  • Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
  • Kill Bin Laden by Dalton Fury
  • War by Sebastion Junger
  • 7 Deadly Scenarios by Andrew Krepinevich
  • The M16/M4 Handbook by Mike Pannone
  • A 10 page article in the August, 2011 Popular Mechanics called "Secrets of the Navy Seals"
  • and the book I just got this week:  Lions of Kandahar by Major Bradley


Our studio kitchen big screen cycles a nonstop parade of inspirational movies and key research films. Some of the studio favorites include Black Hawk Down, the HBO series Generation Kill, Hurt Locker, and Full Metal Jacket, to name a few.  We also pull from other film genres for inspiration as well.  Glen, who tends to have trouble comprehending big words, has a pretty impressive collection of reference films piled high in his office. 

Honestly, that's just a snapshot of some of the high level research we do. Each department in the studio dives deep into research specific to their parts of the game.  Your question sparks a great topic and we are looking to dive deeper into the subject via our blog. Keep your eye out. More good stuff is coming.

Written by Michael Condrey

Categories Culture, Question of the Week

Question of the Week | 7-15-2011


I have a question that I need some answering/clarification on. Your upcoming game Modern Warfare 3 will most likely be rated M, and I am wondering, and hoping, that it will have some sort of content filter. Im restricted on the games that I get, and I would like to get the pre-order out of the way asap. Thank you Sledgehammer Games. Looking forward to the next Call of Duty!

- Jared Hoyt


Hi Jared,

Call of Duty MW3 is currently "Rating Pending." The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has not completed their review process on the game.  Historically, Call of Duty games have received the M, or Mature17+, designation in the US.   

Navigating the many rating boards around the global is a unique challenge for video games.  It is especially difficult for this game and its worldwide Call of Duty fan base.  ESRB's criteria is different than the European system (PEGI). Germany does not formally recognize PEGI and instead uses their own USK system, with its own specific criteria.  Likewise, the Australia Classification Board and Japan's CERO differ in their criteria.  There are definitely region specific content concerns that we have to manage and filter on a sku/territory basis.  

That might not have answered your question. If you were asking if there would be a content filter for the US specifically, the answer is no.  The rating that ESRB assigns us will be the official, and only, rating for the US version of Modern Warfare 3.

The good news, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in June, is that parents have the right to determine which games are appropriate for their children.  I played a lot of Grand Theft Auto, but wouldn't recommend it to my young nephew, for example. Nor would I recommend my last game, Dead Space, to him.  The M rating was given to both, but for different reasons.  One day, I expect he will play them, and his parents decided that it won't be for several more years. I support ESRB as a tool to help them, and all parents, make smart decisions around which games are appropriate to bring home.

Call of Duty isn't, and never was, about gratuitous violence.  It is meant to capture an authentic and believable depiction of modern conflict.  If your parents restrict the games you can buy based off its rating guidance, then I would say you should be thankful.  Clearly they care about you and have your best interest at heart.  

Hopefully they'll let you preorder, but if they don't you have to respect their wishes.  I wouldn't want it any other way.




Submit your questions to

Written by Michael Condrey

Categories Question of the Week

Question of the Week | 7-7-11


I know it’s a long shot but i would like to know if the upcoming title, MW3 multiplayer has the option for color blind gamers. i.e.. alternate colors like in Black Ops.

As a color blind gamer this will a big influence as to whether I buy the game.

Best regards,

Nick Prynn


Hi Nick,

Research suggests that as much as 6% of the general population suffers from Color Blindness, or more accurately Color Vision Deficiency. Men (9-12%) are 20x more likely to be afflicted than women (0.25-1%).  Those numbers vary depending on which source you quote, but we estimate that nearly a million gamers are playing Call of Duty every day with this issue.  I am happy to report that we are working on a Color Blind Assist option for Modern Warfare 3.

So start honing your MP skills, Nick.  You won’t be able blame your red-green deficiency for all that friendly-fire come November 8th




Submit your questions to

Written by Michael Condrey

Categories Question of the Week

Hammer of the Month | July 2011 Edition


Welcome to Hammer of the Month, July 2011 Edition!

If you’ve watched the video above, you already know what’s up for grabs in this month’s contest:

It might be an autographed MW3 pre-order poster from all of us here at Sledgehammer Games!  Maybe... if you are worthy.  Also, the box of chaos may or may not have something in it for the winner.  It tends to have a mind of its own.

So how might you be worthy?

Submit a Sledgehammer Games/MW3 themed photo with you in it.  Not just any photo, but the one that represents Sledgehammer Games in the most interesting way.  Condrey just started hiking to the top of Machu Pichu with a camera and a sledgehammer, so the competition is going to be tough.  Can you beat him with your creativity?  Well, get to it.   My bet is on our community so make me proud.  We'll see in a month. 

Submit your photo to

(Only one photo can be submitted per email account)

Deadline: July 31st, 2011

Good luck! July’s Hammer of the Month contest is on!

Written by Guy Beahm

Categories Culture


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