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UPDATE: Infinity Ward Vs. Activision

by Phil Kollar on Mar 01, 2010 at 07:23 AM



UPDATE #3: A source close to Infinity Ward told G4 that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will address development leads at the studio in a meeting today. Details on the meeting are unclear, but likely related to the events that have transpired overnight (read below). The source says there will also be a second meeting to address the studio as whole. We're certain some interesting developments will unfold once we hear the outcome of these meetings. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE #2: News has surfaced that reveals Infinity Ward as not having received any royalties from Activision for Modern Warfare 2. Additionally, the developer may have breached their contract with Activision by holding meetings with other publishers.

According to Binge Gamer, it’s not yet known whether Infinity Ward and Activision made agreements that royalties would be paid, but every source has mentioned that the developer has received no additional compensation.

The same article also points to Infinity Ward as having talks with “rival publishers.” If this is true, then it may indeed mean that Activision’s contract with the Modern Warfare 2 developer was breached.

More news as it develops.

[Via Industry Gamers]

UPDATE #1: G4 has updated their story with a new discovery. It seems Activision hinted at this news earlier today in a telltale line buried in an SEC filing:

"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."

G4's report speculates that at least one of the senior employees mentioned is Jason West, since it seems clear that he has left the company for some reason. The above line also seems to indicate that there may be lawsuits involved, which likely means we'll have more information on what "breaches of contract and insubordination" were going on soon.

ORIGINAL STORY: Just in case the ApocalyPS3 nonsense from earlier in the day wasn't crazy enough, the beginning of March continues to offer up some utterly insane happenings in the world of video games. The latest comes from Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward, who appear to have some bad things happening at their studio.

G4TV reports from "a source close to the...developer" that Infinity Ward studio heads Vince Zampella and Jason West met with Activision earlier today and then disappeared from the building. Shortly after that, "a bunch of bouncer-types" arrived in the office.

Though no official comment has been provided regarding the situation, G4TV's report describes the mood around the Infinity Ward office as "freaked out and confused," understandably.

Meanwhile over on the NeoGAF forums, an image has surfaced that is supposedly from the Facebook wall of the aforementioned Infinity Ward co-founder Jason West:

While we're as of yet unable to confirm the validity of the Facebook image, West's LinkedIn profile has been changed to show his tenure at Infinity Ward as January 2001 to March 2010 and as a "past" job.

What losing one or more of its founding members means for Infinity Ward as a whole is not yet clear, but we'll continue updating this story as more info comes out. We also contacted Infinity Ward creative strategist Robert Bowling, but he had no comment and said  via Twitter that he "has no info."

[Thanks to KhoIdstare and Aggort for the tips.]