A look at the Shoreditch studio behind much of Modern Warfare 2's cut scene content
The Call of Duty series is famed for its globetrotting narrative. One minute you’re a Navy SEAL operative, the next a crack SAS agent. But did you know mega blockbuster Modern Warfare 2’s production was similarly country hopping, with a London-based animation firm responsible for a chunk of in-game content?
The game’s in-game cinematics, which thrust players from corners of the globe and across international perspectives, were in fact made by a team in London called SPOV. The team has in fact worked on a number of Activision titles following work on the first Modern Warfare – not bad for a company founded by freelance artist Allen Leitch just a short while ago.
Since signing up with Activision and doing TV work for Discovery, Leitch has grown a stable of talented artists. But he admits that much of SPOV’s success spring boarded from Infinity Ward’s seal of approval: “We owe all of our recent success to one man. His name is Michael Boon, technical art director at Infinity Ward. Michael saw some work of ours on a TV series called FutureWeapons on Discovery and sought us out via the show’s production company. Michael asked if I’d be interested in getting involved with their game, and obviously my response was positive to say the least. After a sneak peek at the game in IW’s LA offices I was blown away. I still had no concept of how massive Modern Warfare was about to become, however – it really wasn’t until the game hit the shelves that I realised I’d just been involved in something special.
“That one email has completely transformed our business, and now we’ve been fortunate enough to be re-hired by Infinity Ward to do it all again.”
Going forward, Leitch plans to leverage his firm’s unique position as part of the London graphics scene to keep growing SPOV. The firm is a classic example of the many companies in London (and on these pages) that support and work with the games industry and help it crossover with others.
Leitch says the team’s base in the heart of Shoreditch helps keep them creatively juiced: “We plan to keep doing the jobs we love, and for SPOV to be counted amongst the most creative and professional studios around, not just for our design and production, but also for the quality and originality of our concepts,” he says. “We’re continually expanding our capabilities and are always on the lookout for new partners to develop our creative ambitions.”
Number of staff: Five
Location: Shoreditch, East London
Previous projects: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Quake Wars: Enemy Territory, Call of Duty: World at War, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Currently working on: Unannounced projects