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Report: Infinity Ward bosses removed from studio

Activision accuses 2 senior staff members of breaching contract and insubordination

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.

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Latest comments (18)

Jason Avent VP, Studio Head, NaturalMotion6 years ago
That's a shame.
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Yannick Boucher Project Manager, Crytek6 years ago
Or is it?
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University6 years ago
but what in the world did he do?
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Show all comments (18)
Guillaume Gouraud Creative Development, Darkworks6 years ago
"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.
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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.
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Anuj Malhotra Studying Business Management, Imperial College London6 years ago
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.
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Modman6 years ago
bizness is biznuss
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Terry Smith Studying Network Security & Management, Buckinghamshire New University6 years ago
I'd also like to know what they supposedly did, before I go swinging the judgemental guns.
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Michael Wiessmuller Managing Director & Business Development, Indie Games Services Ltd6 years ago
I would think this has to do with bonus payments.
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Gregory Keenan6 years ago
ouch
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Russ Greeno Reviewer 6 years ago
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).

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James Poole Managing Director, Sarcastic Hedgehog Ltd6 years ago
"contract breaches and subordination, according to reports this morning."

They were too subordinate?
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Kostas Hajaropoulos Writer - Journalist 6 years ago
[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...
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Perry Chen Studying Finance, Boston College6 years ago
They were talking with *gasp* rival publishers! In my mind, that does constitute a serious breach of contract.
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Solomon Lee Web-Based Games Reviewer 6 years ago
Talk about a rough break.
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John Welsh Program Manager Defence/Serious Games SME, Sydac6 years ago
Well hopefully they have a strong succession plan in place! CTOs aren't that easy to find or to grow.
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Kenneth Seward Game Designer 6 years ago
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.
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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 6 years ago
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.
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