Raven Software

Last updated

Raven Software Corporation
Type Subsidiary
Industry Video games
Founded1990;31 years ago (1990)
FounderBrian Raffel
Steve Raffel
United States
Number of employees
350 (2021) [1]
Parent Activision
Website ravensoftware.com

Raven Software Corporation is an American video game developer based in Wisconsin and founded in 1990. In 1997, Raven made an exclusive publishing deal with Activision and was subsequently acquired by them. After the acquisition, many of the studio's original developers, largely responsible for creating the Heretic and Hexen: Beyond Heretic games, left to form Human Head Studios.



id Software

Raven Software was founded in 1990 by brothers Brian and Steve Raffel. [2] Originally a three-person company, they were discovered by John Romero, co-founder of id Software, who collaborated with Raven to make games using their game engine beginning with ShadowCaster . [3] Raven then started making games with id Software and even briefly moved to the same street as them. [4] They used id's engines for many of their games, such as Heretic, Hexen: Beyond Heretic and Hexen II .

In 2005 and 2009, Raven developed two games from id's catalog: Quake 4 and Wolfenstein respectively. [5]


The company was independent until 1997 when it was acquired by Activision. They were still collaborating with id Software but at the same time developed other titles as well such as Soldier of Fortune in 2000, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy in 2003, X-Men Legends in 2004 and many more.

In August 2009, following poor performance and possible over-budget of Wolfenstein, [6] [7] the company made a major layoff of 30-35 staff, leaving two development teams. This was reduced to one after more layoffs in October 2010, after delays with Singularity; as many as 40 staff were released. Following the layoffs and after id Software was bought over by ZeniMax Media, Raven has since become a primary developer for the Call of Duty series. [8] [9] [10]


In 2012, Raven began hiring employees for a game, [11] and were announced as collaborating with Infinity Ward on Call of Duty: Ghosts in May 2013. [12]

On April 3, 2013 following the closure of LucasArts, Raven Software released the source code for Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy on Sourceforge under the GPL-2.0-only license. [13]

As of April 2014, the company is the lead developer of the free-to-play Chinese Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Online . [14] The company also remade Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, titled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered . [15]

In 2020, Raven Software collaborated with Infinity Ward on the game Call of Duty: Warzone .

Raven developed Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War with Treyarch, which released on November 13, 2020. [16]

Related Research Articles

<i>Heretic</i> (video game) 1994 dark fantasy first-person shooter video game developed by Raven Software

Heretic is a dark fantasy first-person shooter video game released in 1994. It was developed by Raven Software and published by id Software through GT Interactive.

<i>Hexen II</i> 1997 video game

Hexen II is a dark fantasy first-person shooter (FPS) video game developed by Raven Software from 1996 to 1997, then published by id Software and distributed by Activision. It is the third game in the Hexen/Heretic series, and the last in the Serpent Riders trilogy. It was later made available on Steam on August 3, 2007. Using a modified Quake engine, it features single-player and multiplayer game modes, as well as four character classes to choose from, each with different abilities. These include the "offensive" Paladin, the "defensive" Crusader, the spell-casting Necromancer, and the stealthy Assassin.

<i>Heretic II</i> 1998 video game

Heretic II is a dark fantasy action-adventure game developed by Raven Software and published by Activision in 1998 continuing the story of Corvus, the main character from its predecessor, Heretic. It is the fourth game in the Hexen: Beyond Heretic series and comes after the "Serpent Rider" trilogy. Although Id Software owns the publishing rights to the previous titles, Heretic 2 is owned by Activision since they own Raven Software and its IPs.

id Software American video game development company

id Software LLC is an American video game developer based in Richardson, Texas. The company was founded on February 1, 1991, by four members of the computer company Softdisk: programmers John Carmack and John Romero, game designer Tom Hall, and artist Adrian Carmack. Business manager Jay Wilbur was also involved. id Software made important technological developments in video game technologies for the PC, including work done for the Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake franchises. id's work was particularly important in 3D computer graphics technology and in game engines that are used throughout the video game industry. The company was involved in the creation of the first-person shooter (FPS) genre: Wolfenstein 3D is often considered to be the first true FPS; Doom is a game that popularized the genre and PC gaming in general; and Quake was id's first true 3D FPS.

Activision American video game publisher

Activision Publishing, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in Santa Monica, California. It currently serves as the publishing business for its parent company, Activision Blizzard, and consists of several subsidiary studios. Activision is one of the largest third-party video game publishers in the world and was the top United States publisher in 2016.

Infinity Ward, Inc. is an American video game developer. They developed the video game Call of Duty, along with seven other installments in the Call of Duty series. Vince Zampella, Grant Collier, and Jason West established Infinity Ward in 2002 after working at 2015, Inc. previously. All of the 22 original team members of Infinity Ward came from the team that had worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault while at 2015, Inc. Activision helped fund Infinity Ward in its early days, buying up 30 percent of the company. The studio's first game, World War II shooter Call of Duty, was released on the PC in 2003. The day after the game was released, Activision bought the rest of Infinity Ward, signing employees to long-term contracts. Infinity Ward went on to make Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and the Modern Warfare reboot.

Neversoft American video game developer

Neversoft Entertainment was an American video game developer, founded in July 1994 by Joel Jewett, Mick West, and Chris Ward. Neversoft was known for the Spider-Man video game as well as the Tony Hawk's and Guitar Hero video game franchises. The company was acquired by Activision in October 1999. Their last game was the Extinction mode of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and the studio merged with Infinity Ward, a primary developer on the Call of Duty franchise, on May 3, 2014, and was made defunct on July 10, 2014.

Treyarch Corporation, formerly known as Treyarch Invention, is an American video game developer, founded in 1996 by Peter Akemann and Doğan Köslü, and acquired by Activision in 2001. Located in Santa Monica, California, it is known for its work for the Call of Duty series, alongside Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, and Raven Software.

id Tech 3

id Tech 3, popularly known as the Quake III Arena engine, is a game engine developed by id Software for their video game Quake III Arena. It has been adopted by numerous games. During its time, it competed with the Unreal Engine; both engines were widely licensed.

Call of Duty is a first-person shooter video game franchise published by Activision. Starting out in 2003, it first focused on games set in World War II. Over time, the series has seen games set in the midst of the Cold War, futuristic worlds, and outer space. The games were first developed by Infinity Ward, then also by Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games. Several spin-off and handheld games were made by other developers. The most recent title, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, was released on November 13, 2020.

id Tech Series of video game engines

id Tech is a series of separate game engines designed and developed by id Software. Prior to the presentation of the id Tech 5-based game Rage in 2011, the engines lacked official designation and as such were simply referred to as the Doom and Quake engines, from the name of the main game series the engines had been developed for. "id Tech" has been released as free software under the GNU General Public License. id Tech versions 0 to 3 were released under GPL-2.0-or-later. id Tech versions 3.5 to 4.5 were released under GPL-3.0-or-later. id Tech 5 to 7 are proprietary, with id Tech 7 currently being the latest utilized engine.

<i>Wolfenstein</i> (2009 video game) 2009 video game

Wolfenstein is a first-person shooter video game developed by Raven Software and published by Activision, part of the Wolfenstein video game series. It serves as a sequel to the 2001 entry Return to Castle Wolfenstein, albeit loosely; and uses an enhanced version of id Software's id Tech 4. It was released in August 2009 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, to a lukewarm to positive reception by critics; as well as poor commercial sales, selling a combined 100,000 copies within its first month. This was the final game id Software oversaw as an independent developer, released two months after their acquisition by ZeniMax Media in June 2009.

Sledgehammer Games, Inc. is an American video game developer company, formed in 2009 by Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey. The pair formerly worked at Visceral Games and are responsible for the creation of Dead Space. The company is an independent, yet wholly owned subsidiary of Activision and is based in Foster City, California. The studio is known for developing or co-developing various video games in the Call of Duty series.

Respawn Entertainment, LLC is an American video game development studio founded by Jason West and Vince Zampella. West and Zampella previously co-founded Infinity Ward and created the Call of Duty franchise, where they were responsible for its development until 2010. The studio created the Titanfall first-person shooter series that debuted in 2014. Respawn was acquired by Electronic Arts on December 1, 2017. The studio developed the action-adventure game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which was released in November 2019, and the free-to-play battle royale game Apex Legends, released in February 4, 2019. Respawn developed Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, released on December 11, 2020, for which it became the first video game developer to receive an Academy Award.

IW (game engine) Game engine developed by Infinity Ward

The IW engine is a game engine developed by Infinity Ward and Treyarch for the Call of Duty series. The engine was originally based on id Tech 3 as its core, since the engine itself is proprietary with inclusion of GtkRadiant by id Software. It has been used in the past by Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Raven Software and Sledgehammer Games.

<i>Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3</i> 2011 video game

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a 2011 first-person shooter video game, jointly developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision. The game was released worldwide in November 2011 for Microsoft Windows, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. It is the third and final installment in the original Modern Warfare saga, a direct sequel to 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the eighth Call of Duty installment overall. A separate version for the Nintendo DS was developed by n-Space, while Treyarch developed the game's Wii port. In Japan, Square Enix published the game with a separate subtitled and dubbed version.

<i>Call of Duty: Warzone</i> 2020 video game

Call of Duty: Warzone is a free-to-play battle royale video game released on March 10, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The game is a part of 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and is connected to 2020's Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War and was introduced during Season 2 of Modern Warfare content. Warzone is developed by Infinity Ward and Raven Software and published by Activision. Warzone allows online multiplayer combat among 150 players, although some limited-time game modes support 200 players. The game features both cross-platform play and cross-platform progression between three games.

<i>Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War</i> 2020 video game

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a 2020 first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch and Raven Software and published by Activision. It was released worldwide on November 13, 2020, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and S. It serves as the sixth installment in the Black Ops series, and the seventeenth installment in the overall Call of Duty series. The game is the second Call of Duty title since 2011's Modern Warfare 3 to be co-developed by two studios.


  1. "Analysis: Call of Duty Warzone's developer has grown by nearly 50% in a year". VGC.
  2. "Raven Software - About the Studio". ravensoftware.com. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  3. Romero, John. "The Early Days of id Software". YouTube. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  4. "From Dungeon & Dragons to Call of Duty: The Story of Raven Software". USgamer.net. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  5. "id Software and Activision, Inc. Confirm Wolfenstein(R) for the Xbox 360 Video Game and Entertainment System". PR Newswire. October 5, 2005.
  6. Ivan, Tom. "Raven Software Hit By Layoffs". Archived from the original on September 5, 2012.
  7. Crecente, Brian (August 26, 2009). "Raven Hit By Layoffs, Some Point to Lackluster Wolfenstein Sales". Kotaku. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  8. "Report: Layoffs Hit Raven Software, Focusing on DLC". Shacknews.com. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. Crecente, Brian (October 11, 2010). "Singularity Game Developer Hit with Layoffs". Kotaku. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  11. Hinkle, David (November 2, 2012). "Raven job listings suggest next-gen game in the works". Joystiq. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  12. Pitcher, Jenna (May 22, 2013). "Raven Software and Neversoft assisted Infinity Ward in Call of Duty: Ghosts development". Polygon. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  13. Hinkle, David (April 4, 2013). "Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy source code released". Joystiq . Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  14. "Raven Software now the lead developer on CoD: Online for China". CharlieIntel. April 17, 2014.
  15. Scammell, David (May 2, 2016). "Modern Warfare Remastered is developed by Raven; first multiplayer maps confirmed". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  16. August 2020, Alyssa Mercante 04. "Call of Duty 2020 confirmed by developers Treyarch and Raven Software". gamesradar. Retrieved August 5, 2020.