Call of Duty Veterans Join Respawn Entertainment

At least seven former members of Call of Duty creator Infinity Ward have now joined the studio's fired founders at their new venture Respawn Entertainment, G4TV reports.

Lead designers Mackey McCandlish and Todd Alderman, lead animators Mark Grisby and John Paul Messerly, lead environmental artist Chris Cherubini, and programmers Jon Shiring and Rayme Vinson have all joined Respawn, taking the same roles.

Respawn Entertainment was formed earlier this month by Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, who were dramatically fired by studio owner Activision in March. The pair soon sued Activision for allegedly unpaid royalties as well as control of the Modern Warfare brand. Activision dismissed the claims as "meritless" and promptly counter-sued, alleging that the pair had attempted to "steal" Infinity Ward.

Activision is currently restructuring the studio after Respawn's seven new hires and at least six others quit. It seems that their bonuses will be shared amongst all remaining.

"I'm confused, because by leaving, they are giving up their bonus--and the more people that leave, the bigger the bonus gets for the people who stay," 1up spotted Activision social media manager Dan Amrich writing after boldly wading into the hostile waters of Facebook's 'Gamers against Bobby Kotick & Activision' group.

There's still no word on what Respawn has planned, though it's a fair bet the game will involve shooting people in their faces during a period some time after September 1, 1939. The studio has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing scheme with Activision's rival Electronic Arts through its EA Partners scheme.

From The Chatty
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    April 23, 2010 5:48 AM

    sucks that they lost their bonuses, respawn must have really really lucrative deal for them

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      April 23, 2010 6:00 AM

      I believe they'll sleep better at night knowing they didn't stall their career at Activision because of bribery.

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        April 23, 2010 11:13 AM

        Yeah. They don't want to be the ones making the Call of Duty series into the same fodder as the Guitar Hero series.

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      April 23, 2010 6:06 AM

      While money does indeed help keeping a family sustained, etc, I think after all these years the importance of working somewhere where you're respected and ENJOY has greater priority than the money Activision could trickle to them all.

      I know I'd want to keep my sanity and get the hell out of there.

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        April 23, 2010 7:35 AM

        I agree with this too.

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        April 23, 2010 8:18 AM

        Having made that decision once, I can say it was the worst one I ever made. Cast myself and my family into three years of financial ruin and general misery that we've only just finally climbed out of. If I had a second shot knowing what I do now, that's a decision I wouldn't repeat.

        Now, these IW guys are in WAY better position to start with than I was at the time, and Respawn is surely on sound footing, but they're weighing the question of abandoning a huge payday to go to an upstart. That's a lot to think about, and I don't think you can judge anyone for looking out for themselves before making such a big move.

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          April 23, 2010 3:39 PM

          People need to remember what you just said. There are real world considerations (especially if you have family) to be made before you can just up and move to a different job or area. So, I agree it's not a simple decision for an IW employee to make no matter how poisonous this situation has become.

          Also, Activision knows that. If they are paying out the bonuses over an extended period, stringing people along who are newer to the industry, have roots in the area, and are generally not as mobile as the top talent, then that is a low, low, scumbag tactic. That certainly is not the way to repair trust between the IW rank and file and corporate executive leadership.

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        April 23, 2010 9:37 AM

        Better to slog it out under West and Zampella than get strung along under Pearce / Ackrich / Tippl / Kotick, I'm guessing.

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      April 23, 2010 8:47 AM

      Maybe they came to the conclusion that Activision wasn't intending to ever pay them and would keep using the promise of that money as a carrot in front of their noses indefinitely. Or at least until they signed a contract of indentured servitude in exchange for it.

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        April 24, 2010 7:22 AM

        It's all kinda like trying to loot a sinking ship.

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