Almost five months after releasing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a smash hit with sales numbering in excess of a billion dollars, a wave of shady goings-on and innuendo has blanketed Infinity Ward, resulting in the layoffs of two senior members, namely Vince Zampella and Jason West. For those who are unfamiliar with the pair, these two are the head honchos at Infinity Ward, so these are some startling developments indeed.
It all started yesterday with IW’s bosses heading for a meeting with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. Zampella and West went MIA after the meeting and a bunch of “bouncer”-types showed up outside the IW offices creating a “tense situation”. Although the security personnel would not disclose why they had rolled up on IW’s office building, this did not stop the internet’s unofficial band of sleuths from digging through Linked-In, a job-history database. Vince Zampella has changed his profile to reflect his new employment status with his tenure as Infinity Ward’s CEO clearly represented in the past tense.
A new development came to light as it appears that Activision has filed a Securities and Exchange Commissions report citing charges of “insubordination” and “breaches of contracts” by two senior Infinity Ward employees. Whether or not this refers solely to Zampella and West is unclear, but the fallout from this filing is definitely hitting these two the hardest. The story continues to develop, but this is what we know for sure so far. If anything else major happens, I’ll be sure to update as necessary. These are some crazy events for sure, so what do you guys think about this? Is this Activision asserting itself over their most profitable developer, or is something else going down behind the scenes?
Update: It looks like the dust has settled, as Activision has announced plans for the future of Call of Duty that strips responsibility away from Infinity Ward and places it with an internal department focused on management of the brand, similar to what 343 Industries does for Microsoft and Halo. While Infinity Ward is still contractually obligated to provide two DLC packs to extend the longevity of Modern Warfare 2, future titles in the series will be doled out to Treyarch, who is still on track to release a CoD title this fall. Activision also announced another Call of Duty title slated for a 2011 release. The game, said to be an action-adventure title, will be developed by Sledgehammer Games, a newly formed studio consisting of two former Dead Space veterans.
What do you guys think of this whole fiasco?