The Studio Behind Modern Warfare Is “Dead”, Insider Says

The Studio Behind Modern Warfare Is “Dead”, Insider Says

The mood at Infinity Ward, the studio behind 2009’s biggest game, is terrible and corporate parent Activision is unsure how to fix it, a source close to the development studio tells Kotaku. Infinity Ward “will continue to crumble,” they said.

The source is privy to the goings on in Infinity Ward this week, an eventful period since Monday’s news that Jason West and Vince Zampella, the former chiefs of Infinity Ward who were fired by Activision in early March, were starting a new company, Respawn Entertainment.

Top Infinity Ward developers started leaving the studio last week and have continued to since the Respawn news, costing the under-100-person operation more than a dozen development employees.

“They’re scared shitless,” the source said of Activision management. “They never saw this coming. They can’t believe what’s going on. At first they gave us some bullshit about moving up payments of all the money they owe us to sooner increments. That was when [designer]Todd [Alderman]and [engineer]Frank [Gigliotti]left. But with the announcement of Respawn and all the people leaving, they just got there heads in their hands.”

Activision had not responded to a request for comment regarding the state of Infinity Ward.

While Activision’s counterclaim against the fired West and Zampella accuse the men of trying to undermine both Activision and the financial well-being of the Infinity Ward developers who worked under them, the Infinity Ward insider painted the former bosses in a positive light, blaming Activision for withholding Modern Warfare 2 payments. “They fired the two most amazing leaders we’ve ever seen, and then shafted us all out of a lot of money that was promised to us…there is nothing they can do to gain our trust or respect. And I’m pretty sure they know it now.”

The pace of departures has slowed slightly, with no news in the past 48 hours of anyone else leaving Infinity Ward. Our source says that Activision is bringing in people from other studios to fill in gaps created by the departures, in the hopes to move ahead with the expected Modern Warfare 3. That won’t work, our source said: “IW as you know it is dead…and it will continue to crumble. There are a lot more veterans who are definitely going to leave.”


For a recap of the latest events in the imbroglio involving Activision, Infinity Ward, West, Zampella and now EA, check out Kotaku’s ongoing Call of Duty Legal Warfare coverage.


    • Activision should fire Bobby Kotick? I think you’re forgetting what Bobby Kotick once said:

      “I AM the Senate!”, before firing a shot at Mace Windu. Or maybe I’m getting my evil lords mixed up…

  • Activision only wanted to make games like COD and Guitar Hero, so they can milk them on a yearly basis…. backfire much?

    • how will it really backfire? the casual gamer knows nothing about this and will happily buy MW3. and we all know the casual gamer far outweighs the kotaku (and other gaming sites) reading gamer. our opinions can be short sighted and wishful thinking sometimes… unfortunately.

      • It’ll backfire because Activision don’t own the rights to the Modern Warfare franchise, only CoD, if they win the lawsuit, it’ll be entirely possible for Vince and Jason to develop Modern Warfare 3 at their new studio as long as they drop the Call of Duty name from the title.

  • In Australia employee’s can actually charge interest for every week or however they’re paid. I don’t know if that works in the US – but pretty much all the employees not getting paid what they deserve, should be getting much more when Activision get round to doing it.

    I hope these other employees, if they haven’t received their pay yet, sue the freaking shit outta Activision – they sure as hell would win!

    I just hope these ex-IW employees are able to join Respawn Ent. somehow.

  • I really do hope activision suffer for this. Why would any publishing company want to mess around with a game development studio that pulled in over $1 billion from just one game? Activision should of just given them their royalties, shut up and left infinity ward to do what they do best. I really hope we dont see a repeat of this disaster after Starcraft 2 is released.

    Its sad that infinity ward is on the verge of death, thanks to activision, but im sure most of the developers will move to Respawn.

    • what do infinity ward do best, churn out an old game every 2 years with little change, but more flashy. COD 1 plays identical to MW2 while DICE and others evolve their games. IW really don’t deserve this much damn praise.

  • Sad, but excpected. Also, isn’t there still a possibility IW staff will leave and set up a new company, a la LucasArts and Telltale Games?

  • I don’t get it why Activision fired all those people from IW, I guess COD MW2 wasn’t a big enough success for them.

  • If Activision is reneging on some sort of contractual obligations – why don’t the staff at IW file a class action. I feel sorry for them – If I were promised a bonus for working on the second biggest selling game of all time – I’d want to see the money thanks very much.

  • This has to be one of the most hilarious sagas in recent gaming history- Activision respond to releasing one of the most popular and sucessful games of all time by trying to screw the developers and the entire affair blows up in their greedy faces. It’s nice to see karma give a vicious kick in the nuts to the greedy, scheming, exploitative corporate overlords for once.

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