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.

Raven Software Corporation
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
Founded1990; 34 years ago (1990)
FounderBrian Raffel
Steve Raffel
Key people
Number of employees
350 (2022)[1][2]



id Software


Raven Software was founded in 1990 by brothers Brian and Steve Raffel.[3] 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.[4] Raven then started making games with id Software; the company even briefly moved to the same street as id Software.[5] 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.[6]



The company was independent until 1997, when it was acquired by Activision for $12 million.[7] 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,[8][9] the company made a major layoff of 30 to 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.[10][11][12] By July 2021, Raven Software had grown to roughly 350 employees.[13]

In December 2021, Activision did not renew the contract of several members of the quality assurance (QA) department that were contract employees. One of the associate managers said that "valuable members" were fired although they "were promised, for months, that Activision was working towards a pay restructure to increase their wages".[14] Following these firings as well as other controversies involving Activision Blizzard, a strike has been initiated.[15][16] On January 21, 2022, Raven's QA team formed a union named the Game Workers Alliance with Communications Workers of America.[17]

In May 2022, workers of the Raven QA team voted to unionize with a count of 19 – 2 in favor.[18] In June 2022 Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated that the company would recognize the union and begin negotiations with it.[19]

Following the Raven QA team's successful unionization, the 20-member QA team of Blizzard Albany announced a unionization drive in July 2022 as GWA Albany.[20] The vote passed (14–0), forming the second union at an Activision Blizzard subsidiary.[21]



In 2012, Raven began hiring employees for a game,[22] and were announced as collaborating with Infinity Ward on Call of Duty: Ghosts in May 2013.[23]

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.[24]

In April 2014, the company became lead developer of the now shutdown free-to-play Chinese Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Online.[25] The company also remade Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, titled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.[26]

In 2020, Raven Software collaborated with Infinity Ward on the game Call of Duty: Warzone. The company is considered the face of maintaining, updating and debugging the game as they regularly provide status updates and patch notes on Twitter and their official website (though it is unclear if they are the sole studio responsible behind-the-scenes).[27][28][29]

Raven developed Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War with Treyarch, which released on November 13, 2020.[30]

Raven is currently developing Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 with Treyarch, which is expected to release on October 24, 2024.


  1. ^ "Raven Software employees win union election". The Washington Post. May 23, 2022.
  2. ^ "Activision Blizzard's Raven Software workers vote to form industry's first union". The Guardian. May 23, 2022.
  3. ^ "Raven Software - About the Studio". ravensoftware.com. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  4. ^ Romero, John. "The Early Days of id Software". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  5. ^ "From Dungeon & Dragons to Call of Duty: The Story of Raven Software". USgamer.net. October 28, 2014. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "id Software and Activision, Inc. Confirm Wolfenstein(R) for the Xbox 360 Video Game and Entertainment System". PR Newswire. October 5, 2005.
  7. ^ Kaplan, Karen (August 7, 1997). "Activision to Expand Game Lineup with Raven Purchase". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  8. ^ Ivan, Tom. "Raven Software Hit By Layoffs". Archived from the original on September 5, 2012.
  9. ^ Crecente, Brian (August 26, 2009). "Raven Hit By Layoffs, Some Point to Lackluster Wolfenstein Sales". Kotaku. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  10. ^ "Report: Layoffs Hit Raven Software, Focusing on DLC". Shacknews.com. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  11. ^ "Raven Software Loses More Staff". Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  12. ^ Crecente, Brian (October 11, 2010). "Singularity Game Developer Hit with Layoffs". Kotaku. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  13. ^ "Analysis: Call of Duty Warzone's developer has grown by nearly 50% in a year". Video Games Chronicle. July 19, 2021.
  14. ^ Obedkov, Evgeny (December 7, 2021). "Call of Duty: Warzone developers protest layoffs of contract testers who were promised promotions". Game World Observer. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  15. ^ Nightingale, Ed (December 7, 2021). "Raven Software employees walk out following layoffs in the QA team". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  16. ^ "Blizzard QA Staff Join Walkout As Raven Software Strike Continues". GameSpot. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  17. ^ "Workers at Activision Blizzard-owned game studio Raven Software vote to unionize". Los Angeles Times. January 21, 2022.
  18. ^ Liao, Shannon (May 23, 2022). "Raven Software employees win union election". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  19. ^ LeBlanc, Wesley. "Activision Blizzard CEO Says Company Will Recognize Raven Software Union And Begin Negotiations". Game Informer. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  20. ^ "Blizzard QA workers in Albany are organizing Activision's second union". July 19, 2022. Archived from the original on August 1, 2022. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  21. ^ Carpenter, Nicole (December 2, 2022). "Blizzard Albany becomes second unionized studio at Activision Blizzard". Polygon. Archived from the original on January 26, 2023. Retrieved February 11, 2023.
  22. ^ Hinkle, David (November 2, 2012). "Raven job listings suggest next-gen game in the works". Joystiq. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  23. ^ Pitcher, Jenna (May 22, 2013). "Raven Software and Neversoft assisted Infinity Ward in Call of Duty: Ghosts development". Polygon. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  24. ^ Hinkle, David (April 4, 2013). "Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy source code released". Joystiq. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  25. ^ "Raven Software now the lead developer on CoD: Online for China". CharlieIntel. April 17, 2014. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  26. ^ Scammell, David (May 2, 2016). "Modern Warfare Remastered is developed by Raven; first multiplayer maps confirmed". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  27. ^ Park, Morgan (January 20, 2021). "So, who's making Call of Duty: Warzone now?". PC Gamer. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  28. ^ Duwe, Scott (August 11, 2021). "Raven Software says it banned 50,000 additional accounts from Call of Duty: Warzone today alone". Dot Esports. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  29. ^ "Call of Duty: Warzone Season Six Patch Notes". www.ravensoftware.com. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  30. ^ August 2020, Alyssa Mercante 04 (August 4, 2020). "Call of Duty 2020 confirmed by developers Treyarch and Raven Software". gamesradar. Retrieved August 5, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)