When Infinity Ward co-founders West and Zampella left Activision, they took a large chunk of the team with them. That forced Activision to pair the remnants of the team with Sledgehammer Games to co-develop Modern Warfare 3. At the end of the day, Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin says that the dramatic shift actually benefited the company and the brand by better preparing the studio for the rigors of next-gen development.
"I think we are better future proofed for making Call of Duty going forward," Rubin said. "And we may or may not have done this if not for that [tumultuous] event."
"Games are getting harder to make and they're taking bigger and bigger budgets and bigger teams," Rubin points out. And to make a new COD game every other year must certainly take its toll. "The previous games were all very insular, and that's not really possible now. Working with outside studios like Sledgehammer was a difficult transition but now we've gotten past that learning phase."
Ultimately, having Infinity Ward go through its upheaval forced the company to learn how to work with others. "It forced our hand to go down that route, which in the long run turned out to be good for us. I think we are much more capable now of doing these big projects," Rubin told GI.biz. Now, Infinity Ward co-develops their games with a number of partners, including Raven and Neversoft