Infinity Ward Not DOA, Says Kotick
Despite recent forecasting that the emaciated vestiges of Infinity Ward will be soon laid to rest, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick assured investors yesterday that the industry innovator will remain open for business.
Last week Janco Partners’ analyst Mike Hickey made waves by predicting that Infinity Ward would be forced to close shop due to continued staff defections. Adding that he expected the pending Modern Warfare 2 map pack to be the final contribution to the studio’s legacy, Hickey stated in no uncertain terms that “We expect the Infinity Ward studio will be essentially closed after their next map pack releases, with development work on Modern Warfare 3 spread between two studios not historically tied to the franchise.”
In an attempt to quell fears of an imminent studio closure, Kotick maintained in a post-earnings conference call yesterday that keeping Infinity Ward healthy remains a top priority. The battle will be an uphill one, considering the recent departure of 35 employees, a large majority of which left for West and Zampella’s recently unveiled Respawn Entertainment.
“We are obviously disappointed about this and we wish we could convince some of these talented people to stay,” Kotick lamented during the call. He also expressed regret that West and Zampella were terminated, clarifying that he had considered the pair personal friends but felt backed into a corner by their alleged actions. Kotick finished addressing the topic by reaffirming that Activision will provide all the resources – people or otherwise – needed to “maintain the highest level of content quality.”
While Kotick’s campaign is obviously one of necessity (read: damage control), it’s unclear if the studio is stable internally. An anonymous source hinted last week that the studio is crumbling from the inside-out. While we wish the best for all the talented developers who remain at Infinity Ward, we're not convinced the turmoil is entirely behind them.