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Robert Bowling Unexpectedly Announces He is Exiting Activision [UPDATED]

No word yet on reasons, nor where he may be headed next.

UPDATE: Activision has replied with a short statement on Bowling's exit.

"We sincerely thank Robert for his many years of service. He’s been a trusted and valued member of the Infinity Ward team. We wish him all the best on his decision to pursue future opportunities.”

Does that sound at all to you like the sort of thing a company not quite expecting this type of thing to happen might say? Read that way to me, anyway, but maybe I'm off-base.

----

In a startling bit of news that pretty much just happened, Robert Bowling, the longtime creative strategist for the Call of Duty brand at Activision and developer Infinity Ward, has announced he is resigning from his current position.

I don't know if I should apologize to Robert for using this photo of him, but I'm just going to go ahead and preemptively do so.

No reason was given for the announcement, but the terms were absolutely clear. He stated as follows:

Today, I resign from my position as Creative Strategist of Call of Duty, as a lead of Infinity Ward, and as an employee of Activision.

Bowling had been with Activision since 2006, working early on in the franchise's existence as a community manager, and eventually rising up to become the most recognizable face associated with the brand. For all intents and purposes, he has been Call of Duty's primary mouthpiece since the Modern Warfare era began, especially in the time following the exit of Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West, who went on to found Respawn Entertainment.

We've reached out to Activision for an official statement regarding Bowling's exit. We'll update this story should they respond.

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177 Comments
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Posted by TheBostonPops

"... many years of service" ? Did he just resign from the military?

Posted by phrali

was totally looking forward to whatever Respawn was coming up with.

if they hire this guy, i need to hear him say "activision MADE me tell all those lies so i quit" or else i'm not interested in anything that Respawn does.

Posted by Rmack

One shot, center mass.

Posted by Brendan

@Enigma777 said:

@Sooty said:

Is Creative Strategist (Community Manager) sort of like how Subway call their employees Sandwich Artists? fourzerotwo always struck me as either incredibly ignorant of the PC platform or he was being told what to say by Activision.

Hey, it takes a real artist to make a sandwich like that.

It must, because none of the people working at any Subway I go to can seem to keep it together.

Posted by DFSVegas

@Mystyr_E said:

<checks pockets>

<checks under bed>

Hm, can't seem to find a fuck to give

And yet, here you are. That reminds me, I have to find a Rugby message board, so I can go there and tell them how much I don't care about Rugby.

Because this is behavior that makes sense.

Posted by AuthenticM

$20 he's going at Respawn.

Edited by deerokus

I wouldn't entirely expect him to show up at Respawn, they already has a community manager http://www.giantbomb.com/abbie-heppe/72-99837/. Mind you, I don't even know what 'creative strategist' means in the context of CoD. I really doubt he had any creative control over the game.

Posted by Walreese55

The dude's married and has kids, so yeah, I can understand the hover hands.

Posted by Diablos1125

Robert Bowling gets hired at Respawn Entertainment confirmed?

Edited by Dany

@Diablos1125 said:

Robert Bowling gets hired at Respawn Entertainment confirmed?

@deerokus said:

I wouldn't entirely expect him to show up at Respawn, they already has a community manager http://www.giantbomb.com/abbie-heppe/72-99837/. Mind you, I don't even know what 'creative strategist' means in the context of CoD. I really doubt he had any creative control over the game.

@AuthenticM said:

$20 he's going at Respawn.

@YukoAsho said:

So tomorrow he gets hired by Respawn?

@adoggz said:

so what are the odds he ends up at respawn?

@slyspider said:

respawn got a new person?

@wsowen02 said:

Respawn needs a mod for their message boards.

Posted by Apathylad

Random picture is random.

Posted by Mike76x

@Rmack said:

One shot, center mass.

Does nothing In Call of Duty

Posted by DukesT3

@Mystyr_E said:

<checks pockets>

<checks under bed>

Hm, can't seem to find a fuck to give

heh.

Posted by mordukai

Does he do any sort of game design or is he just a glorified forum mod?

Posted by m0rdr3d

Respawn: Yo, Robby! We could probably use your services now, afford to pay you, etc. You ready?

Robert Bowling: "Today, I resign my...."

Posted by BigChickenDinner

@ArcLyte said:

@Mystyr_E said:

<checks pockets>

<checks under bed>

Hm, can't seem to find a fuck to give

\end of thread.

Posted by Sekoku

I've got no problem with him. but good. Maybe we can get someone that doesn't use twitter to get fixes and news out to people. (Oh, who the hell am I kidding?

Posted by Volgin13

You just know he's headed to Respawn... West and Zampella made an offer he couldn't refuse perhaps?

Posted by DustoMan

You know. I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't a long time coming since the fallout at IW after MW2 launched.

Posted by Intro

Haha, hover hands.

Posted by Zips

@Sekoku: Sorry but you're going to have to get used to this. A lot of companies do this already so I'm not sure why you'd give him any guff for doing it as well.

I know 402 got a lot of crap, some deserved but most of it is unwarranted. Serving as the voice of an entire company or franchise that is as popular as Call of Duty/Modern Warfare is a thankless job. He put a smile on as best he could despite threats, insults, and God knows what else slung at him for being the voice of Infinity Ward and Activision (to a lesser extent). Best of luck to him.

Posted by Obinice

Call of Duty? Is that some new Mass Effect DLC? :D

Posted by ConduitFourSale

Wait this dude was a community manager as recently as MW2 -- who cares?

Posted by SeriouslyNow

I'm pretty sure this means that MW is drawing to a close. 

Posted by Cybexx

Well the deal was that you had to stick around at Infinity Ward and make Modern Warfare 3 to get Infinity Wards share of the Modern Warfare 2 profits right? He is one of only a handful that stuck around it seems so I suspect he recently received a large payout.

Posted by iAmJohn

@aurahack said:

These comments, as usual, are terrible. Dude was always upfront and should be respected for that. Sad to see him go, though I'll giggle some if he ends up at Respawn.

To the contrary, I'd say these comments perfectly capture how much of a fucking loudmouthed shit Robert Bowling is, between his constant lying to the community about features and patches and fucking awful stunts like that "one shot center mass" shit.

Posted by MB
@kpaadet

Creative Strategist?, give me a break, its fancy talk for community manager. So nobody should really care about him leaving.

Exactly. This move is completely inconsequential, its not like he was a developer or a designer or anything like that.

May he fade away into obscurity in silence.
Moderator
Posted by scottygrayskull

Look at Bowling in that picture! Hover-handing those ladies like a bawse!!!

Posted by NDN_Shadow

When did we care so much about PR people? He was really just community manager, not "lead developer" or "developer" by any means.

Posted by MachoFantastico

Never been a huge fan of Robert if I'm honest.

Posted by sandweed

@deerokus said:

I wouldn't entirely expect him to show up at Respawn, they already has a community manager http://www.giantbomb.com/abbie-heppe/72-99837/. Mind you, I don't even know what 'creative strategist' means in the context of CoD. I really doubt he had any creative control over the game.

Hahm I've had this person on my twitter for a while as "person who works in gaming" had no idea it was a girl. The more you know!

Posted by Longevitous

Never really understood why the GB community hates everything Call of Duty related, and this barely qualifies as that. He's a community manager, much like the gentleman who wrote this post was once for Harmonix. Would you say that Alex wasn't important in the promotion and PR of Rockband? Bowling became the face of CoD and the voice for the fans and there are a lot of CoD fans. Plus how can you not be a fan of Bowling after " super-douche?"

Posted by Fastidiocy

The increasingly fancy titles for an identical job always made me smile, and all the train wrecks along the way were certainly interesting, but he always seemed like a nice enough guy who tried to make the most of a shitty job. Sometimes it must have been impossible to avoid fucking it up.

But despite an impressive résumé which includes leading Infinity Ward, creating Call of Duty, and writing lyrics for Chris Remo, I'd be shocked to see him at Respawn.

Posted by Branthog

@sandweed said:

@deerokus said:

I wouldn't entirely expect him to show up at Respawn, they already has a community manager http://www.giantbomb.com/abbie-heppe/72-99837/. Mind you, I don't even know what 'creative strategist' means in the context of CoD. I really doubt he had any creative control over the game.

Hahm I've had this person on my twitter for a while as "person who works in gaming" had no idea it was a girl. The more you know!

It's basically a generic catch-all for "I talk on twitter and facebook and put out updates in the forums and sometimes give interviews". I don't know about Bowling, but most of these type of titles mean "nothing to do with the actual game and everything to do with interactive marketing and promotion of it". Hence, why these are often positions held by GAME JOURNALISTS.

Posted by Branthog

@MB said:

@kpaadet

Creative Strategist?, give me a break, its fancy talk for community manager. So nobody should really care about him leaving.

Exactly. This move is completely inconsequential, its not like he was a developer or a designer or anything like that. May he fade away into obscurity in silence.

A good community manager who can create a solid rapport with people is important to gamers, "journalists", and developers/marketing, but as you point out, they are inconsequential to the game itself.

Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie

Meh, It's like if Larry Hyrb left Microsoft. It would be news but not really significant to the product.

Posted by matti00

Now that's a man that appreciates a mature woman.

Posted by Will_M

Only Alex would bust out a pic like that. Pun intended.

Posted by Gregomasta

@Mystyr_E said:

<checks pockets>

<checks under bed>

Hm, can't seem to find a fuck to give

bravo.

Posted by Quemador

@gorkamorkaorka said:

HOVER HANDS

Good catch, now lets speculate how much of a loser he is.

Posted by buckybit

To my understanding Robert Bowling was a one-trick pony. Now, he is not anymore. Good for him?

Posted by LegendaryChopChop

Looks like the era of Call of Duty is truly over.

Posted by Fuga

These comments, as usual, are terrible

Posted by dudeglove

So it looks like he's off to Vegas then with his ladies.

Posted by R3DT1D3

I'll never forgive him for saying MW2 on PC will be just like Call of Duty has always been and then, a few weeks before release, spilling the details that they gutted it and you may as well buy the console version so you can trade it in. I don't know how he lasted this long lying to customers and twisting statements to make it sound like Activision cares.

Even before that though, he always struck me as someone who dodged any real questions and he never seemed to have any knowledge of what was going on other than what he was prepped to say for interviews. Hopefully someone more honest and straightforward takes his place (although I doubt it with how Activision is managing IW).

Posted by dvorak

@Sooty said:

Is Creative Strategist (Community Manager) sort of like how Subway call their employees Sandwich Artists? fourzerotwo always struck me as either incredibly ignorant of the PC platform or he was being told what to say by Activision.

The difference is that Sandwich Artists probably have more self-respect.

Posted by AndrewB

@dvorak said:

@Sooty said:

Is Creative Strategist (Community Manager) sort of like how Subway call their employees Sandwich Artists? fourzerotwo always struck me as either incredibly ignorant of the PC platform or he was being told what to say by Activision.

The difference is that Sandwich Artists probably have more self-respect.

Four slices of roast beef, ham, turkey, slami, and provolone/swiss/some semblance of cheddar to a footlong sub. Your choice of veggies. That's art.

Edited by raiz265

All he's ever been to me is the guy who told me that MW:2 wouldn't have dedicated servers.

Listening to that podcast was painful.

Posted by blacklab

@gorkamorkaorka said:

HOVER HANDS

Hah, totally

Posted by TheWesman

@LegendaryChopChop said:

Looks like the era of Call of Duty is truly over.

One can surely hope.

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