Trouble at Call of Duty Dev Infinity Ward as Heads Depart Under Odd Circumstances (Updated)

By Brian Leahy, Mar 02, 2010 8:19am PST Original (3/1/10):'s Patrick Klepek is reporting that a "tense" situation is brewing at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward. Citing a "source close to the... developer", Patrick paints a picture of what could be going on between IW and owner Activision Blizzard.

According to the story, "Infinity Ward studio heads Vince Zampella and Jason West reportedly met with Activision this morning and have not been seen by Infinity Ward staff members since." Later in the day, non-uniformed "bouncers" arrived at Infinity Ward, but would not explain why they were there.

No official word has been released by either company at this time.

Update (3/1/10): Earlier today, Activision filed an SEC report that mentioned looking into "breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward" and noted "this matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation."

Additionally, a post on Facebook by Infinity Ward president Jason West, confirmed to be legitimate, mentions being newly unemployed. West has also updated his LinkedIn profile with a March 2010 end-date for his position at IW.

Update 2 (3/2/10) Studio head Vince Zampella has likewise confirmed a March 2010 departure from Infinity Ward via LinkedIn. As before, we'll keep you updated.

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  • This whole thing sucks ass, and it makes no sense what-so-ever. Even as someone who disagreed with the way IW handled (both in implementation and PR wise) a lot of stuff with MW2 on the PC (and as someone who felt that CoD4 was generally more fun), I still want to express my sympathy for these guys who just got screwed. It sucks. It sucks ass.

    Unless there are some major factors that I don't know about (and Activisions actions lately has given me every reason to deny them the benefit of the doubt) seems that they basically raped the goose that laid the golden egg. Its almost as if Kotick and co. are so invested in being dicks for the sake of it that they will act against their own interests in order to top themselves.

    I was kind of baffled about Activision's shutting down the fan made King's Quest project that Sierra had allowed via an didn't help them in any way. Then this comes along and completely makes me all dizzy and confounded. I think Tim Schafer had it just about right when he tweeted about this...throwing feces is how Activision communicates and is to be expected.

  • In the Activision 10-K:

    In November 2009, the Company released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a game developed by one of the Company's wholly-owned studios, Infinity Ward. As noted above, Modern Warfare 2 was the best selling console title in the U.S. and Europe in 2009. Consistent with past practice, the Company intends to release a Call of Duty game in 2010 developed by another wholly-owned studio. The Company is concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward. This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation. At present, the Company does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the Company.

  • Activision made a statement "In light of the recent actions at Infinifty Ward and the restructuring we will be going through, we are proud to announce a new monthly Modern Warefare 2 DLC for our fans to buy until the release of a new Call Of Duty game this fall with available DLC to purchase at day one of release!"

    "We're also really excited to give our fans of the series the opportunity to purchase Call Of Duty clothing accessories, nothing like wearing a pair of AK47 boxers to show how big your care package is and Call Of Duty Condoms, "Go Into It With A Bang!"