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Activision Cans Infinity Ward Studio Heads

Jason West and Vince Zampella apparently out, mood described as "freaked out" and "confused." Bobby Kotick to address studio this afternoon.

Zampella
In case you missed it last night, Patrick Klepek over at G4 broke a big story about some extreme drama currently going down at Infinity Ward, the developers of Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2. The two heads of the studio, Jason West and Vince Zampella, are apparently out, and Activision has made a bit of noise in its 10-K filing about investigating charges of "insubordination."

Here's this bit from the company's annual report, released yesterday: 

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.

 
 West
G4's definitely got a story worth reading, so check that out. Also, it sounds like there will be more happening in the near future, as sources have indicated to us that Activison CEO Bobby Kotick is scheduled to address the studio at large in 30 minutes or so.

We're currently planning on going back in to record an additional segment for this week's podcast to discuss this ongoing situation, and I'd expect that some choice quotes from Kotick's meetings with IW will be circulating later today. I'm totally flabbergasted over here, but of course, we're not getting the entire story. One has to wonder if we ever will. Either way, I bet that some publishers are already attempting to line up offers to start a new West/Zampella studio, assuming that Activision's talk of litigation wouldn't completely cripple such a venture. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff
Zampella
In case you missed it last night, Patrick Klepek over at G4 broke a big story about some extreme drama currently going down at Infinity Ward, the developers of Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2. The two heads of the studio, Jason West and Vince Zampella, are apparently out, and Activision has made a bit of noise in its 10-K filing about investigating charges of "insubordination."

Here's this bit from the company's annual report, released yesterday: 

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.

 
 West
G4's definitely got a story worth reading, so check that out. Also, it sounds like there will be more happening in the near future, as sources have indicated to us that Activison CEO Bobby Kotick is scheduled to address the studio at large in 30 minutes or so.

We're currently planning on going back in to record an additional segment for this week's podcast to discuss this ongoing situation, and I'd expect that some choice quotes from Kotick's meetings with IW will be circulating later today. I'm totally flabbergasted over here, but of course, we're not getting the entire story. One has to wonder if we ever will. Either way, I bet that some publishers are already attempting to line up offers to start a new West/Zampella studio, assuming that Activision's talk of litigation wouldn't completely cripple such a venture.
Staff
Edited by SomeGuy890

Wow... 
That is news. 
 
"Insubordination"  could mean anything from embezelment to them not wanting to make another cod game.  
Need more info.
Posted by Zifrit

Yep.

Posted by deadly_polo

crazy times

Posted by Feser

These two men will go on to start their own studio, and will have more than enought support.
Posted by Callumrides

wow

Posted by natetodamax

Yeah, so screw all the people that were like "OMG ITS A PUBLICITY STUNT" :P
 
Too bad for those guys.

Posted by PanzerPev

Wow,  this is unreal.  I'm going out on a limb and guessing that Kotick's a complete moron here.  How do you can the heads of IW?  You're pwned mate.

Posted by MCXCI

Hot damn! 

Posted by drowsap

wow thats crazy but hell atleast we get extra bomcast

Posted by Ace829

I think I speak for almost everyone when I say "Fuck Activision".

Posted by Thunder

its probably because MW2 sucked so much and they know it

Posted by Ututu222

We're currently planning on going back in to record an additional segment for this week's podcast to discuss this ongoing situation, and I'd expect that some choice quotes from Kotick's meetings with IW will be circulating later today.

I was wondering if this news was going to be big enough to warrant such an action. I'm always up for more bombcast :).
Posted by Vision

Gotta love to hate Kotick.

Posted by L33tfella_H

Here's wondering what 'subordination' means in this case.
 
guess Kotick will give us a (PR heavy) speech about this soon i guess.

Posted by Spacetrucking

Obviously,   West/Zampella were busy working on this instead of MW3. 
Posted by KaosAngel

Fuck Activison, Blizzard should just leave them and go back to being themselves.  Activision will die without Infinity Ward and Blizzard.

Posted by General_D23
@Ututu222 said:
"

We're currently planning on going back in to record an additional segment for this week's podcast to discuss this ongoing situation, and I'd expect that some choice quotes from Kotick's meetings with IW will be circulating later today.

I was wondering if this news was going to be big enough to warrant such an action. I'm always up for more bombcast :). "

Indeed. Nice to hear.
Posted by ToadRunner

if any company has cash they should def get these guys

Posted by Sil3n7

This blows my mind. But then again, it is Activision, so should I really be surprised?

Posted by SuperfluousMoniker
Posted by FunExplosions

Bobby Kotick: The Sarah Palin of video games.

Posted by HydraHam

As much as it sucks for the guy and im sure a giant following of anti-activision groups will start boycotting everything that comes out by them i have to honestly say i will still buy from them.. he isn't my friend or family and personally i have never heard of the guy till now but im sure he got the shit end of the stick and that sucks but i needs mah vidjagames

Posted by Jackel2072
@FunExplosions said:
" Bobby Kotick: The Sarah Palin of video games. "
I can see Infinity Ward from my house!
Edited by Hamz

It's sad to hear people are losing their jobs but frankly this sounds a lot like Zampella and West decided to refuse something Activision expected from them and now they're paying the price. My guess is Kotick will give the rest of IW an ultimatum of sorts, start accepting that Activision effectively owns them or hand in their resignation.
 
Personally it does seem like Activision is in the right here. A company like them, one that is both large and professional, wouldn't file an SEC report for breach of contract and insubordination from the two top dogs of a studio they own, let alone then sack them as well, without strong grounds to do so. Sounds to me like West and Zampella decided to revolt against something requested by Activision, perhaps in sharing code and/or other assets of the COD series with another studio for a future project.

Posted by Cheapoz

How long can you make fun of your billion-dollar employer while making and game for them and get away with it? 
 
About 4 months after release apparently.

Posted by CornontheCobbe

This is the end of the world.

Posted by ZombiePie

I have said it before so I'll say it again, the SEC is serious business and they don't mess around with the allegations that Activision is levying against Infinity Ward. If Activision's evidence is concrete, which it looks like it is, then the heads of Infinity Ward should be fired. However if Activision is using the SEC to threaten and push out the heads of Infity Ward then I hope Bobby Kotick gets burned on the stake.

Moderator
Posted by fillmoejoe

Damn man.

Posted by TheHBK

Unless it's embezzlement, I am sure a lot of dev's will try to get these guys.  Maybe EA can grab em so that DICE can finally stop dicking around and make Battlefield 3.  They should go to make their own studio and be under MS or work with Epic for a new Unreal Tournament game.  Yay!

Posted by blake_brown

That is a real shame.  Sorry that those guys lost their jobs, but I doubt they will have any problem finding new ones with such a pedigree behind them (barring that they didn't embezzle money or any other such illegal activities). 
 
I guess this also means MW3 will never be the same.  Bad news on all fronts.  Would really like to know the full story.

Posted by ImperiousRix

Activision: Ruining everything since 2008.

Posted by _Phara0h_

Well we are still waiting to hear the complete story on Jeff.... So you are so right in saying that we will never get the full story....

Posted by PhannIOUS

Bobby Kotick; Destroying the gaming industry- one developer at a time.
 
He's making money for the investors and completely destroying us gamers. Stop him before it's too late.

Posted by ShakeItBaby

I bet the "security types" were actually Storm Troopers...

Posted by Krakn3Dfx

This opens the door to Call of World of Dutycraft, an MMO that pits the Alliance against the Horde using modern day weaponry and featuring leveling and massive killstreak perks. 
 
Dutycraft...heh.

Posted by VWGTI

 Jeff said:

We're currently planning on going back in to record an additional segment for this week's podcast to discuss this ongoing situation, and I'd expect that some choice quotes from Kotick's meetings with IW will be circulating later today. 


 
Yesssssss! I was so sad that the news broke this morning, a day after you all recorded this weeks Bombcast. I can't wait to hear you all sound off on this!
Posted by Pie

Glad to hear that your going back to the bombcast! (did you get all the hoo-hah about Portal aswell?)

Posted by sandwich_adjustment

does kotick have hair pluggz

Posted by VanTesla

@Jeff:

One thing is for sure and that is  Bobby Kotick should have is butt fired out of a cannon!

 
I hate that guy....

Posted by Alphazero

I bet Kotick's top priority will be to legally cripple any new venture and do his best to keep the rest of the developers at IW from fleeing. He doesn't want another Rock Band.
 
Makes me wonder what sort of non-compete clause, if any, those two had in their contracts.

Posted by sorryawkward

They should go back to EA and work on a new Medal of Honor.

Posted by Jackel2072
@Hamz said:
" It's sad to hear people are losing their jobs but frankly this sounds a lot like Zampella and West decided to refuse something Activision expected from them and now they're paying the price. My guess is Kotick will give the rest of IW an ultimatum of sorts, start accepting that Activision effectively owns them or hand in their resignation.  Personally it does seem like Activision is in the right here. A company like them, one that is both large and professional, wouldn't file an SEC report for breach of contract and insubordination from the two top dogs of a studio they own, let alone then sack them as well, without strong grounds to do so. Sounds to me like West and Zampella decided to revolt against something requested by Activision, perhaps in sharing code and/or other assets of the COD series with another studio for a future project. "
the old rumor mill is working over time with this. I read That IW contract is up in Oct and the two main heads were going to strike a deal with another studio (not EA) Also IW still half owns the rights to the Call Of Duty name. so im guessing they were going to jump ship with the franchise.  thats where the whole insubordination comes in i guess. but take that with a HUGE truck load of salt at this point.
Posted by kojack

Remember how that awful grenade spam video was produced by a video production team that had some weird unspecified overlap with IW? At the time I thought it was a little weird that a wholly-owned studio would have a side project like this. Any bets on whether that has anything to do with the current flap?

Posted by Batdude247

  This seems so similar to a story that happened to a person named J Gerstmann.    

Posted by Milkman

Awesome that you guys are adding another segment to the podcast. Interested to hear what you guys have to say.

Posted by VilhelmNielsen
@ImperiousRix said:
"

Activision: Ruining everything since 2008.

"
2008? Activision has ALWAYS ruined everything.
Posted by Hamz
@Jackel2072: Rumour regarding MW3 was IW and Treyarch wouldn't be developing it and that Activision had decided to hand development to a third studio. I can imagine this, if true, would have caused extreme conflict between IW & Activision. Especially if it meant IW had to hand over code and assets of their work on the COD series to an unknown third studio to continue the series with.
Posted by Turbo_Toaster

Clusterfuck of the Week, can't wait to hear your guys' take.

Posted by Ubiquitous

Wow at the past two days of gaming related news. This is all crazy. Hopefully this will end up with Activision going down, the canned devs making better games, and episode 3/portal mashup later this year.  
 
I can dream.

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