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Report: Infinity Ward bosses removed from studio

Tue 02 Mar 2010 8:51am GMT / 3:51am EST / 12:51am PST
Development

Activision accuses 2 senior staff members of breaching contract and insubordination

Activision Publishing

Activision, Inc. is a leading international publisher of interactive entertainment software products....

activision.com

Infinity Ward

Infinity Ward is an accomplished team of game makers focused on creating games that are fun, exciting,...

infinityward.com

Two senior members of staff have been marched out of the Infinity Ward studio following accusations by Activision of contract breaches and insubordination, according to reports this morning.

Sources at the Modern Warfare studio told G4 that security turned up and removed chief creative officer Vince Zampella and CTO Jason West, to the confusion of staff.

A SEC filing made earlier today by Activision said a human resources investigation had been initiated into "breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward", although the employees being investigated were not named.

"The matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation," read the filing. "At present, the Company does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the Company."

The pair reportedly subsequently met with Activision and haven't been seen by Infinity Ward staff members since then.

West's involvement appears to have been confirmed by a Facebook status update he published after the meeting, which stated: "Jason West is drinking. Also, no longer employed."

Zampella and West were among the founding members of Infinity Ward who had previously worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for EA.

At Infinity Ward, they created the immensely successful Call of Duty series for Activision and continued to develop key entries in the series, culminating in the recent smash hits Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2.

Infinity Ward is currently preparing to release Modern Warfare 2 DLC, due out this spring, and was thought to be beginning work on a new IP.

Activision has told GamesIndustry.biz that it has no comment to make at this time.

18 Comments

Jason Avent
VP, Studio Head

144 139 1.0
That's a shame.

Posted:4 years ago

#1

Yannick Boucher
Project Manager

29 1 0.0
Or is it?

Posted:4 years ago

#2

Stephen McCarthy
Studying Games Technology

205 0 0.0
but what in the world did he do?

Posted:4 years ago

#3

Guillaume Gouraud
Creative Development

1 0 0.0
"We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making videogames,"

Excluding severe breach scenario, It looks like the top management motivation is to demonstrate that Activision is not dependent to any talent or studio managers. Including on their most profitable line of product. What's funny I don't think Serious business like Banks behave this way with their top traders.

Posted:4 years ago

#4
Lets hope on a positive note, the top lien managers wil emerge even stronger with a new range of product or a new company perhaps. Certainly one to watch.

Posted:4 years ago

#5

Anuj Malhotra
Studying Business Management

31 0 0.0
How unfortunate. I guess it's time to see if certain controversial comments made by Jason Rubin in a recent bonus round will be proven true or not.

Posted:4 years ago

#6

Modman

3 0 0.0
bizness is biznuss

Posted:4 years ago

#7

Terry Smith
Studying Network Security & Management

1 0 0.0
I'd also like to know what they supposedly did, before I go swinging the judgemental guns.

Posted:4 years ago

#8

Michael Wiessmuller
Managing Director & Business Development

20 1 0.1
I would think this has to do with bonus payments.

Posted:4 years ago

#9

Gregory Keenan

102 11 0.1
ouch

Posted:4 years ago

#10

Russ Greeno
Reviewer

4 0 0.0
A very interesting story; one thinks that they regret being bought out by Activision now. It is probably a surprise to be sacked from the company that you yourself started (whatever the reason).

Posted:4 years ago

#11

James Poole
Managing Director

36 0 0.0
"contract breaches and subordination, according to reports this morning."

They were too subordinate?

Posted:4 years ago

#12

Kostas Hajaropoulos
Writer - Journalist

5 0 0.0
[link url=http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/activision-holding-back-mw2-royalties
]http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/activi...[/link]

As it seems, Activision has not paid IW a single dollar out of the 1bn$ profits that MW2 made.

Food for thought...

Posted:4 years ago

#13

Perry Chen
Studying Finance

17 0 0.0
They were talking with *gasp* rival publishers! In my mind, that does constitute a serious breach of contract.

Posted:4 years ago

#14

Solomon Lee
Web-Based Games Reviewer

13 0 0.0
Talk about a rough break.

Posted:4 years ago

#15

John Welsh
Program Manager Defence/Serious Games SME

10 0 0.0
Well hopefully they have a strong succession plan in place! CTOs aren't that easy to find or to grow.

Posted:4 years ago

#16

Kenneth Seward
Game Designer

12 0 0.0
Its kinda heartbreaking to read this kind of news to me. Its like seeing your king/captain die on the field of battle from a heart attack or some unprovoked problem before the fight. I mean, these guys where the minds behind the studio, and are really a cornerstone for that studio, and cannot for the life of me would believe that I would feel right working in that studio knowing the pieces of the mind there isn't complete.

Posted:4 years ago

#17

Aidan Fitzpatrick
Artist

48 2 0.0
Must be a really uncertain time for the general staffers at IW. It doesn't bode well for job security that anyone (even the heads of the studio) taking a stand against Activision can faced the chop. My suspicion is that they forced the issue of wanting to work on new IP or took exception to Activision farming the IP they created out to several different studios at once and watering down the brand.
I think news like this will make small studios think twice in the future about selling their souls to Activision.

Posted:4 years ago

#18

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