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The Blast Furnace: Gordon Hall joins Activision Mobile

Former Rockstar Leeds head, creative behind GTA mobile and Red Dead Redemption, joins UK team

Gordon Hall has joined Activision Leeds to spearhead mobile games development, with the studio itself now officially known as The Blast Furnace.

Hall has an extensive career in game development - he founded Mobius in 1996 and sold it to Rockstar seven years later. The company became Rockstar Leeds and developed Midnight Club and Grand Theft Auto titles for PSP, as well as GTA: Chinatown Wars for Nintendo DS and iOS.

In 2009 he moved over to Rockstar San Diego to help push the team to complete Red Dead Redemption before moving back to Leeds and eventually resigning from the company two year's later. He now becomes chief creative officer for Activision Mobile.

"They're such a great team, they've got such an impeccable leadership and the direction and vision is very business-like and incredible to behold," said Hall of Activision, speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry International. "And my god, they've got some fantastic IP that we can riff off.

"Put that together, the business changing, me taking time out to spend time thinking about this and feeling energised by it, the fact the guys have already been working on setting up a studio here and inviting me into that. It's a perfect storm, there's no way I couldn't have seized that opportunity, really," he added.

Activision started the mobile studio in November last year to focus on smartphone and tablet formats, pulling in fellow Rockstar vets Mark Washbrook and Mark Lloyd, as well as former Team 17 boss Martyn Brown, to build up the business.

It now boasts around 40 veteran games developers and will be responsible for rebooting classic Activision IP.

A full interview with Gordon Hall and Greg Canessa, VP of Activision Mobile, can be read here.

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.