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When Unprofessional Blog Posts Attack: Call of Duty Edition

Infinity Ward rep pushes right on D pad, calls in a blog strike on Activision internal producer.

In case you're wondering...
In case you're wondering...
One thing I've found over my time covering the game industry is that there are a lot of common conflicts that take place between the development side and the business side of a game's creation. There also seems to be a lot of anti-internal-producer venom out at some external development houses. Get into enough unguarded, regular-guys-just-talking conversations with a guy who's working at a developer and I'd say you'll encounter some variant of this static more regularly than you might think.

The latest example comes out of Infinity Ward's Robert "fourzerotwo" Bowling, the studio's Director of Communications and Community Manager. He's definitely become one of the more prominent faces for IW. And yesterday he made one thing perfectly clear: he is not a fan of the way Infinity Ward's last game is being name-dropped to promote the next Call of Duty game, World at War.

Noah Heller - Stop Doing Interviews...

Seriously man…. You’re killing me!

If I see one more Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare google alert come through my inbox, that ends up being a COD:WaW article that is only showing up because YOU referenced Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare more times than you mention World At War….

Especially when you’re pulling shit out of your ass. Come on man, interview about your game. Not OURS! Call of Duty: World at War can stand on it’s own merits, leave ours out of it. Like this gem of a quote from today’s article on CVG…

“In the previous Call of Dutys it might take three or four shots from a bolt action rifle,” he explained. “We made sure that a single shot centre mass would kill that opponent because that’s the expectation of the player.”

WTF are you talking about?! “in previous Call of Dutys blah blah blah”. First of all, you didn’t work on “previous Call of Dutys”, so don’t talk as if you’re down with how / why things were designed the way they were. Second, you’re completely fucking wrong.

Bolt Action rifles are one hit kills in every Call of Duty we (Infinity Ward) made!!

I won’t compare it to World at War’s Bolt Actions, I can’t speak to that because I don’t work there. Just like you don’t work here, so please stop talking about our games.

A rule of thumb I like to use is…. when promoting your game. Promote YOUR game. Don’t compare it to another game, or reference what OTHER games did in the past, pitch YOUR game. I mean, you have lots of cool things you could talk about… like Nazi Zombies….

Can you guys please stop interviewing this guy, talk to someone who actually works on the Dev Team at Treyarch and knows what the fuck they’re talking about. Not Senior Super Douche Noah Heller from Activision - who apparently has never played the game and doesn’t even work at the developer.

Alright, I’m done ranting… but I can’t take another google alert of garbage coming through my inbox with bullshit quotes from this guy.

Heller is a Senior Producer at Activision who manages the Call of Duty series. He has been with the company since March of 2007.

You know, I think Robert's blog sort of speaks for itself, and I'm not really interested in "taking sides" or whatever, so I don't have a whole lot to add other than wondering how badly Infinity Ward wishes it could get one of those Bungie-style independence deals and get away from Activision's sinister-sounding annual release schedule. I'll just say that I suspect this has to do with more than just bolt action rifles. But hey, maybe I'm just reading way too much into all this.

I'd try to start a betting pool to see how long you all thought it would be before the original blog post gets removed, but at this point, it's been up so long that it might as well just stay up.

Hey, cheer up, everybody! Call of Duty: World at War ships next week! We'll have a review on Tuesday!!!!!! Video games!!!!!!!!
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Avatar image for jeffsekai
Posted By Jeffsekai

more reason not to buy CoD: WaW

Avatar image for dagas
Posted By dagas

Poor IW must be really pissed about their game being made by some losers =P I've played World at War and it was a good game, but nowhere near CoD4 I'm afraid.

Avatar image for coldbrand
Posted By Coldbrand

I'd be very happy if Infinity Ward could get away from fucking Activision and that ginger fuck Kotick.

Avatar image for rhcpfan24
Posted By RHCPfan24

That was funny. Well, I still think COD4 looks way better than W@W, so I don't care.

Avatar image for meteora
Posted By Meteora

This certainly was unexpected, I mean vocal anger coming from Infinity Ward nonetheless. I kinda had a feeling that IW had some frustration with the series now that there's been some "changes" to the series (i.e. annual release & Treyarch as the alternating developer). Unprofessional? Yes. Convincing? Depending if you knew the series was being made by two separate developers, sure.

Avatar image for walreese55
Edited By Walreese55

awright, this guy is a douche. the only bolt action rifle in COD4 was the the M40 and R700, which were SNIPERS. The only plausible thing i can think of is that he thinks manual weapons like the G3 are bolt action, which aren't. and 402 really does like WAW, from what i can take from his blog. He sounds really stoked about it. he's more pissed at activision than treyarch.

@MichaelScott: No, they still have that. It doesn't matter for me, cuz i use stopping power for everything.

Avatar image for shortyz
Posted By Shortyz

haha that was pretty sweet

Avatar image for xrevmaynardx
Posted By XRevMaynardX

My guess is that we'll see a Rare style mass exodus from Activision (and IW if they can't take their name with em) and we'll end up seeing a shooter "From the makers of the Call of Duty series!!"

Avatar image for mjolnir
Posted By Mjolnir

I can't blame Bowling for his comments, as anyone would be upset to see their hard work used as some promotional toy for something that they view as unrelated or foreign.  What with the IW3 stuff, I guess we had already kind of figured that this is how they feel.  Still, his choice of words for public display was a little harsh.

Personally, if WaW turns out to be any good, I can say that I like both kinds of Call of Duty games, though I will always feel better about the Infinity Ward titles.

Avatar image for kimfidler
Posted By KimFidler

I like Robert.  He's a pretty cool guy.

Avatar image for milkman
Posted By Milkman

Dang yo. I'm surprised he can get away with something like that.

Avatar image for jayzilla
Posted By Jayzilla

Calling people names in blogs to people other than to who they are aimed at is awful. You have a gripe, go talk to the person in a rational way. Calling people names like that makes me wonder if all the name calling that goes on in MMO's is adults rather than teenagers.

Avatar image for kyle
Posted By Kyle

No, no, no! Mr. Bowling, you're supposed to let off steam by typing it all out and then hitting delete! Not post! That's not how you make friends! That's how you inexplicably "decide" to "resign" a week later! : (

Avatar image for tekmojo
Posted By tekmojo

W@W will be a big letdown

Avatar image for patrick5152003
Posted By patrick5152003

this guy is the reason i wont be supporting any future IW products. 402 is a fucking bitch.

Avatar image for nick8708
Posted By Nick8708
Avatar image for sephiroth9997
Posted By Sephiroth9997
Avatar image for clifford
Posted By clifford

That blog post shows an extraordinary lack of discretion.  You expect that kind of tone from the baser elements in forums, not from the person who is meant to moderate and set the tone.   His blog is unlikely to be read widely and so not noticed by the bosses, but this story will soon be linked across other game news site like kotaku.   After that I wouldn't be at all surprised to find him quietly let go. 

Avatar image for fothermucker
Posted By FotherMucker

Video Games! Alright!

Avatar image for cube
Posted By Cube

Wow, what a douchebag.

Avatar image for pause
Posted By pause422

I find this completely justified and agree this guy at activison is deserving of it.

Avatar image for momentarylogic
Edited By momentarylogic

I am wondering why they don't just change the name of "their game", its not like they even need the clout..

And if they can't then they need to deal with being a part of a company that uses your game name at another company, it already sounds shady just mentioning it.

Avatar image for skunk
Posted By skunk

I think a lot of you guys that are bashing FOURZEROTWO are missing the point. How would you feel if your company made this awesome product that CLEARLY made a dent in the gaming world, especially online, and now you have some other "lesser" company riding off your coat tails. Not to mention dogging it in the process like they made a superior product all by themselves. I dunno about you guys but that would piss me right off.

Also, I'm a bit pissed at how they dealt with the beta and how they updated, or lack thereof, the community. They were supposed to email everyone their beta keys but instead did it through the site... good call morons, there's thousands of people trying to access the site at the same time and wouldn't you know it, it messed up and a buncha oldschool people didn't get their keys. Here's the fun part, they didn't even bother updating the community as to what was going on. Now, the COD4 beta wasn't so smooth either but you know what? FOURZEROTWO was right there updating everyone as to what was going down. When they couldn't resolve it they said fuck it, send it out to everyone as apposed to Treyarch just leaving it as is and if you didn't get one you were fucked.

Avatar image for hughesie27
Posted By hughesie27

Sweet Jeff looking forward to this review!
However like pretty much everybody else I will get it regardless.
The Beta was pretty god damn cool.

Avatar image for i_am_lono
Edited By I_am_Lono

I completely agree with what this guy is saying, and to be honest after playing the beta for WaW it just feels like a re-skinned version of COD4. Four, finally, broke away from WWII, and now activision or Treyarch (I'm not actually sure who makes these types of decisions) have just said "What shall be do now?. . . fuck it! Let's go back to the second world war, sure we've been dragging that horses corpse around for ages now, but we'll ride COD4's success and make a shit load of money from a game that's taken 6 months to create" what a joke.

I think it's time that EA stepped aside, looks like we have a new money hungry publisher ready to take the throne.

Avatar image for daniel_beck_90
Posted By daniel_beck_90

I expected a manager to be more polite !

Avatar image for destroyeron
Posted By Destroyeron

I completely agree with this man and I think he has every right to be pissed off. CoD is IW's baby, they love it and have every reason to be angry when a shitty developer keeps scaring their lineup. Perhaps thats part of Activisions goal though, make the last game suck so bad that the next one will be considered amazing no matter what.

Avatar image for jayge_
Posted By Jayge_

When your game is being associated with the complete, ultimately shitty tripe that is CoD:WaW, I'd get pissed too.

Avatar image for iamjohn
Posted By iAmJohn

I'm counting the days until the main dudes peace from IW and Activision and start another company to make games for the competition, just like they peaced from EA's Medal of Honor team back in the day.

Avatar image for mackgyver
Posted By mackgyver

If the mention of previous games in the series is just the beginning for a pitch for the new game, then that's ok. As long as it doesn't happen ALL THE TIME.
But this is sort of a special case since there are two developers working on a single series. There could be competition going on or who knows what. I see the fourzerotwo's point. From what I remember, the Infinity Ward Call of Duty games were superior to Treyarch. Therefore, the comparisons are not a compliment, they're a detriment. I guess I agree with fourzerotwo's post.

Avatar image for bombmaster
Posted By Bombmaster

I would think even if IW got away from activison there not going to be taking COD with them I would asume Activison owns that property but they could make there own games though I don't know why they would go through the effort to seperate if there were still just going to make a game for Activison. .

Avatar image for xplodedd
Posted By xplodedd

that annual call of duty release is becoming more and more suspicious.
really is.

Avatar image for martin_blank
Edited By Zatoichi_Sanjuro

Why Activision are the new EA:

"[Ghostbusters and Brutal Legend] don't have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million dollar franchises. ... I think, generally, our strategy has been to focus... on the products that have those attributes and characteristics, the products that we know [that] if we release them today, we'll be working on them 10 years from now." - Activision CEO Bobby Kotick

Kinda makes you want to sharpen some stakes and go visit Activision HQ.

Avatar image for spilledmilkfactory
Posted By spilledmilkfactory

IW needs to break away from Activision soon. the CoD well-of-awesomeness is going to run dry soon. even if they do continously produce quality shooters, there's only so much IW or Treyarch can do with CoD without completely shaking things up, and knowing Activision, they won't stand for IW shaking things up.

Avatar image for bulletclip6
Posted By bulletclip6

maybe infinity ward needs to go independent and make a game just like call of duty 4, and call it something else.

Avatar image for det1
Posted By Det1

suddenly, DRAMA

Avatar image for media_master
Posted By Media_Master
Avatar image for dryker
Posted By Dryker

Blah, blah, discretion my ass. Discretion is what allows corporate bullshit to persist. People need to move passed discretion into true understanding and honesty. Most developers cite mistakes they have made on previous games that they have addressed and fixed for their latest game, but this deuche is citing a game that he had nothing to do with and how "his game" has corrected the mistake. Personally, I wouldn't have blogged the response. I would have flogged the deuche. You have to keep in mind that most people are not aware of developers, only the games; and for Infinity Ward to have to put up with an inferior developer creating content that is more or less marketed as the same game, would chap my hide too.

Avatar image for wickedcobra03
Posted By WickedCobra03

I can see why this guy would be mad.  If you keep riding off the success of the last game made by a different studio and this one ends up sucking, you have more or less just made IW look bad to a lot of casuals who don't know we have a cyclic change in developers.

But on another note, like others said; and I am not completely sure on the figures of the past CoD's but I am pretty sure that CoD3 tanked, CoD2 did pretty good and I don't think the original CoD ever caught on a ton since it was only on PC and it was IW's first game.  It seemed pretty popular as far as among us kinda hardcore PC players but I am not sure about the general public?  So yeah, like others said; he is kinda being a total jerk, but on the other hand Activision has probably been doing this kind of crap for the last few months and this was the last straw.

Avatar image for xxxxx
Posted By XXXXX

Hopefully there is a mass exodus from IW and they start a new independent studio and start work on "Medal of Honor: Modern Warfare" under the EA Partners program. Maybe that would sort out those pricks (Kotick and company) over at Activision who seem to think what the gaming industry needs is 24/7 hardcore milking of any and all available franchises until there is nothing left but a dead, withered corpse where a vibrant franchise once stood.

Avatar image for killdave
Posted By killdave

meh, girls ....

Avatar image for kennybaese
Posted By kennybaese

Really... it's not that big of a deal, me thinks. I think it's the price for all working for one gigantic company like Activision. It just comes with the territory, but the upside is you get lots and lots of money to make your games with.

Avatar image for twoonefive
Edited By TwoOneFive

he's mad that a guy promoting a sequel to his game is referencing his game? he is the fuckin douche bag. what an ass hole? i hope this nolan guy goes and beats his ass for talking so much shit. grow the fuck up you whining piece of shit. 

Avatar image for gravityparade
Posted By GravityParade

My read on this is that he resents Treyarch getting to ride Infinity Bored's success. I'm guessing that he's believes the hype, thinking that COD4: Modern Warfare was a good game, or something, so he has this proud machismo type of attitude. I wish someone would take this guy down a peg so he would concentrate on making IW's next COD something better than the last.

COD4 was a sparkle and fade, in my opinion. They got almost there, but they left a few screws loose as it get flung off the production line and shipped off to retailers. The short campain, The Spawnfucking, the imbalanced perks, the 'nade spam, no central authentication gateway, having punkbuster but not doing anything with it, the fact that turning your graphics to minimum gives you a visual advantage -- all of these game breaking flaws give an otherwise great product, a feeling of incompletion. COD4 is a failure, that's been trumped up as a GOTY. @ Robert Bowling /point /laugh /mock

Avatar image for darkjester74
Posted By darkjester74

Thats going to leave a stain on his resume, whether he realizes it or not.

Avatar image for liquidsol
Posted By liquidsol

Pissed off or not, anyone over 10 years old knows that having having baby rants when you're an adult, in the professional world, can have serious consequences.  I'm not exactly sure what the point of this blog was, other than to whine.  If he actually wanted to do something about it, or incite change, he failed miserably.  Big fail.

Avatar image for mrsmiley
Posted By mrsmiley

Geez, after reading this, I don't know who is the bigger a-hole, Noah or Robert?

Avatar image for chummy8
Posted By Chummy8

Wow.  The professionalism is astounding.

Avatar image for fei
Posted By Fei

"I read that whole article imagining that Marcus Fenix  was shouting it, lol"
"I read that whole article imagining that Marcus Fenix  was shouting it, lol"
"I read that whole article imagining that Marcus Fenix  was shouting it, lol"
"I read that whole article imagining that Marcus Fenix  was shouting it, lol"
"I read that whole article imagining that Marcus Fenix  was shouting it, lol"


Avatar image for bakaneko
Posted By Bakaneko

You generally don't make a statement like that in public unless you've got an exit strategy, or you will be given one for free.

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