Activision's mobile studio renamed The Blast Furnace, adds former Rockstar Leeds president

The Blast Furnace is the new name of Activision Leeds, the publisher's only development house dedicated solely to mobile games, which recently hired former Rockstar Leeds president Gordon Hall.

Activision originally opened its Leeds studio last November, and previously revealed the developer would be working on mobile and handheld Call of Duty games.

Hall is the co-founder of Mobius Entertainment, a developer of Game Boy Advance titles, and comes to The Blast Furnace from a post as president of Rockstar Leeds, a studio known for handheld and mobile versions of games such as Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and The Warriors. He will act as the head of The Blast Furnace, and as chief creative officer for Activision Mobile.

"We have to make sure we're innovating," Hall told GamesBeat, adding that "you'll never catch us doing a port of a console game, which I think is a second-class experience for the user. Everything will be built from the ground up for mobile [devices] and tablets." Even Pitfall! (screenshot above), the company's first new game, isn't a port of the Atari 2600 classic; it's a reimagining designed specifically for the iPad.

"We're not the first" publisher to enter the mobile market, said Activision mobile vice president Greg Canessa, "but we're taking a thoughtful approach to the space." Part of the company's strategy is the Activision Mobile Platform, which it is developing in conjunction with mobile marketing firm Flurry for a launch scheduled for later this year.

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