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‘Call of Duty’ Director Asks $26.995 Million for Custom-Built Bel Air Home

Dave Anthony is known for creating apocalyptic, war-themed videogames featuring vivid battle imagery and zombies.

In real life, the British-born creator of the “Call of Duty: Black Ops” videogame franchise lives on a Los Angeles estate that recalls the English countryside.

“My roots are in England, so it’s in my DNA to love places like this,” says Dave, 50, who was born in Liverpool.

Now coming on the market for $26.995 million, the roughly 9,000-square-foot home in exclusive Bel Air sits on roughly 0.7 acres with a lush garden. The three-story, seven-bedroom house is clad in white brick and limestone, with hardwood floors imported from Germany’s Black Forest. A soundproof office has a secret room accessed by a hidden entrance in Dave’s bookcase.

Dave and his wife, Betim Anthony, purchased the property for $3.5 million in 2010. At the time it contained a 1940s house that had been attributed to architect Paul Williams. It was Dave who fell in love with the property for its garden and the privacy of the lot, which is largely invisible from the road. His wife cautioned that the house itself needed a lot of work.

“I was warning him, ‘Listen, I understand it is your English country house…but it’s very old,’” Betim recalled. “He promised me we were going to remodel.”

The remodel kept getting delayed, Betim said, because the gaming mogul was too busy with work and she was caught up with their two sons, who are now teenagers. Meanwhile, problems frequently arose in the house, including a series of leaks. Once they finally got around to renovating, they realized it was likely time to rebuild the house entirely. After living in the house for close to a decade, they tore it down and started rebuilding in 2018.

Completed in 2022, the new house is inspired by the English country-house look of the old one, but with a more modern twist, the Anthonys said. Its interiors are modern-meets-rustic, with exposed oak-beamed ceilings and wood-paneled walls. There is a windowed breakfast nook, while the large formal living room has a wood-burning fireplace. The secret door in Dave’s office conceals a server room and a storage area that doubles as a panic room, he said.

The theater has cashmere seating and an oak-paneled ceiling. PHOTO: MIKE KELLEY
The property has all the bells and whistles expected of a luxury Los Angeles mansion, including a gym, a wine cellar and a game room with a billiards table. The home theater is fit for gaming on a grand scale, with cashmere-covered seats, cutting-edge acoustics and a fiber-optic connection that rivals the one in the “Call of Duty” offices, said Dave.

The son of a welder, Dave lost his father early in life and found an escape in the world of movies and videogames, he said. His own two sons are also massive gamers.

“My mother used to say to me, ‘David, you’re never gonna learn anything by playing videogames,’” he said with a laugh.

Dave moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago to produce “Call of Duty” for Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox, he said. L.A. was a welcome change from Liverpool, where it rains too much, he said.

“I always dreamed of living somewhere that had a beautiful climate,” he said. “For the first six months I lived here, there wasn’t a single drop of rain.”

In 2010, he wrote the screenplay for and directed “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” which was at one time the world’s bestselling videogame. He later wrote and directed the sequel “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.”

“I was earning really incredible amounts of money and very fortunate to do so,” he said.

His work in gaming informed the process of building the new house, he said, inspiring him to make sure that the home’s interiors matched the English-country theme. “When you’re making a videogame, you’re creating a world,” he said, “and it has to be very, very consistent when you’re in it. If there’s anything that takes you out of that world, then you lose your audience.”

The property’s grounds include an infinity pool and firepit. A fountain has jets and colored lights that can be choreographed to music, much like the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The Anthonys declined to say how much they spent building the house, but said the cost of the project ended up being triple what they initially projected.

As for why they are selling, Dave said they are ready to move on to new things and he is pursuing a new challenge professionally. He retired from the company that makes “Call of Duty” around 2013. In 2020 he founded another gaming company, Deviation Games, which shut down three years later.

The property is listed by Aaron Kirman of Christie’s International Real Estate.

Write to Katherine Clarke at Katherine.Clarke@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/real-estate/luxury-homes/call-of-duty-director-asks-26-995-million-for-custom-built-bel-air-home-82636236

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