David Vonderhaar, one of Call of Duty’s most veteran developers, has left Treyarch and Activision entirely. Vonderhaar, who started at Treyarch in October 2004 and had been there ever since, is leaving the company to “explore new opportunities.”
Posting on LinkedIn, Vonderhaar said he is “immensely grateful” to his teammates at Treyarch “for the time we invested to improve our craft, never sitting on successes, and always wondering how to improve what we design and how we produce it.”
Vonderhaar was Treyarch’s studio design director and was on the leadership team at the company. He started at Treyarch in 2004 and started his career there with 2005’s Call of Duty 2: Big Red One.
Vonderhaar actually joined Activision for the first time in 1996, when he was a senior online manager until 2000. He left Activision to join Intuit and then GameSpy, before coming to Treyarch in 2004. Activision acquired Treyarch in 2001.
“Thank you to the Call of Duty community for your passion and enthusiasm. That energy has often fueled our determination as a studio and individuals. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to interact with so many of you directly online and in person. This energy will always be a massive part of me,” Vonderhaar said.
Vonderhaar will stay in the video game industry for his next gig. He said he is “working on an undisclosed project” that he can’t talk about yet. “I am excited about a rare and unique opportunity,” he said.
Treyarch released a statement saying goodbye to Vonderhaar. The studio said Vonderhaar’s “discipline, creativity, and innovation” helped shape Treyarch’s games over the years. “His iconic phrases and groundbreaking ideas will be missed,” the studio said.
Farewell to the legendary David Vonderhaar, whose discipline, creativity & innovation helped shape our games from COD 2: Big Red One to Black Ops Cold War. His iconic phrases & groundbreaking ideas will be missed. Excited for your next adventure. #ThankYouVahn
— Treyarch Studios (@Treyarch) August 18, 2023
Treyarch’s latest project is the Zombies mode for Modern Warfare III, which features the biggest map in the history of the mode. Treyarch is rumored to be the main developer of 2024’s Call of Duty game.
Under Vonderhaar’s leadership, Treyarch created the uber-popular Zombies mode for Call of Duty, which debuted in 2008’s World at War. Treyarch also created the fan-favorite Black Ops series and took Activision’s first steps into the battle royale space with Blackout, which would later evolve into the massively popular Call of Duty: Warzone.
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