What the devil is going on at Infinity Ward? Developers of top FPS franchise Call of Duty lost two lead designers yesterday when Activision’s heavies removed them from the studio. Jason West and Vince Zampella are at the center of apparent ‘insubordination’ claims by Activision, owners of Infinity Ward. A full statement from the publishing giants reads as follows:
“The Company is concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward,” Acitivsion states in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “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.”
No material impact on the company? They were clearly lead designers for a reason so their absence will almost definitely have some form of impact. Relationships between the developers and Activision have been said to be ‘tense’ at the best of times, possibility related to their game engine and IP handed over to given to another developer, Treyarch. They were behind Call of Duty 3 and World at War, both said to be dips in the series quality.
This is an all too familiar state of affairs for the studio however as the founding members originally worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for EA but walked out to form Infinity Ward back in 2002 when they became unhappy with the publishers. So although it’s quite an unfortunate for both West and Zampella, it may be to their advantage. Working on the record breaking FPS Modern Warfare 2 will be one hell of an accolade to have on you CV and we could see another successful studio raise from these proverbial ashes.