Activision’s Modern Wardfare Continues

By Alec Meer on March 4th, 2010 at 11:18 pm.

You’ll probably have already picked up on the ongoing fallout from Tuesday’s Activision-Infinity Ward oh-so-modern warfare, but as the talking point du jour we should probably cover it. The story so far: Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West didn’t turn up to work after a meeting with the developer’s owner Activision – but some hired muscle did. Shortly afterwards, Activision filed suit against the pair for “breaches of contract and insubordination”, a charge that is yet to be explained. Since then, Zampella and West have filed right back at ‘em, with accusations of withheld royalties and “Orwellian moves” to construct a case for their dismissal. Activision have duly refuted the claims, but it’s increasingly looking like this stems from a tussle for control of the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare franchises. Oh, why can’t more happy things happen in the videogame industry?

Zampella/West say they had an agreement with Activision that IW would have sole creative responsibility for any Call of Duty game set post-Vietnam or carrying the Modern Warfare moniker, which in turn guaranteed them royalty payments from the series. It’s not specified what Activision have done to breach that agreement (if indeed they have), but it’s possibly related to the rumoured Nam-set Treyarch COD due later this year, and to the newly-revealed COD action-adventure (i.e. not an FPS), to be handled by Sledgehammer Studios. Zampella/West’s assertion is that there’s been a calculated plan to fire them on trumped-up charges before the first Modern Warfare 2 royalty cheque hits.

Activision, meanwhile, have responded by reiterating that they believe the pair have been insubordinate. Which may or may not be related to an apparent leaked memo that seems to chronicle their investigations leading up to the shock dismissal. A memo that suggests the pair were seeking to setup a new studio independent of Activision – possibly with the assistance of Electronic Arts.

Which is just crazy. Infinity Ward were, after all, originally created to escape Electronic Arts, and being shackled to the Medal of Honor franchise. What goes around comes around, even weirder and nastier than before. So… does that make EA the good guys now?

Lawks only knows who’s right, or if any of this mudflinging holds any merit. Perhaps it’s greedy businessmen on both sides of the argument, or perhaps it’s an enormous misunderstanding. At this stage, it seems impossible to predict how it’s going to turn out, but it’s certainly meant a week of uncomfortable drama. It’s possible it’ll mean an end to Modern Warfare games, though at least the Call of Duty wagon doesn’t seem in any danger of grinding to a halt. Here’s where the matter currently rests, in Activision’s public response to Zampella/West’s $36million lawsuit:

“Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless. Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.“In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

I lost track of how many times it says Activision in that one paragraph.

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119 Comments »

  1. Nickosha says:

    This sounds like something Activision would do. They don’t care about games or their customers, just their customers’ (and likely their customers’ parents) money.

    • Silverfish says:

      They’re a company it’s what they’re supposed to do (make money). BUT, they do not seem to realize that they get this money from their customers, and customers don’t buy Activision’s stuff if they don’t trust them,

      It’s weird how many game companies don’t seem to realize it’s not about the money, it’s about the games, because the games will make the money if that’s their main focus. But I’m not really an expert so what do I know? (hint: not much)

    • kyrieee says:

      They also don’t seem to realize that they get the money from customers because of good developers. I read that 68% of Activision’s revenue comes from Guitar Hero, CoD and WoW. How about that, the world’s largest video game publisher owes its position to a small number of extremely talented game developers, and what do they do? They take away their creative freedom and run the franchises into the ground (it hasn’t happened with WoW yet, but it probably will happen with CoD).

      They don’t care about good games, good developers or their customers. They’ve completely mismanaged Guitar Hero and they’re apparently mismanaging CoD. They don’t deserve all these talented developers bringing them this success

    • Pantsman says:

      “This sounds like something Activision would do. Activision doesn’t care about games or Activision’s customers, just Activision’s customers’ (and likely Activision’s customers’ parents) money.”

      Fixed.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Except that Kotick is anything but stupid, and I have a very hard time imagining he’d so blatantly manufacture grounds for their dismissal.

      This whole thing is ridiculous. Last I checked, looking for a job isn’t a criminal activity; or is that another of the basic human rights that US job contracts let you sign away?

    • battles_atlas says:

      You’re spot on silverfish. What happened to the ideas Naomi Klein detailed in No Logo? You know, about how the corps were now fixated on this idea of instilling ‘brand loyalty’ in their customers? Of building a trusting relationship with them? Not much sign of that in the contemporary games industry is there, save the couple of Valve-shaped exceptions.

      I guess its the same thing as the banking clusterfuck at the end of the day – things like brand loyalty require investment, and investment over years. The Suits’ job is to generate profit before the next shareholder’s report in six months time. If that means burning all your bridges with your customers, so be it. None of those who profit will likely be around by the time the shit hits the (HSF) fan anyway.

      And it’s this ideology that’s supposed to save us from climate change! Better start buying shares in boat builders.

    • drewski says:

      @ Alexander Norris – something doesn’t have to be a criminal activity for it to be a valid ground for terminating someone’s employment.

  2. Spacewalk says:

    Yeah this past week hasn’t half been a viper’s nest.

  3. Dominic White says:

    The story so far (as far as I can gather) is that Activision owed the guys 36 *million* dollars in royalties for MW2, and also their contract with Activision was going to expire in October, meaning they (and the Modern Warfare license, which they had also gotten an agreement on) were looking for another publisher to move to.

    Activision stood to lose both a brand name and 36mil, so they come up with charges of ‘insubordination’ and fire them… just before they were meant to be paid 36 million dollars. Yeah.

    I have no idea what Bobby Kotick and co are up to, but this is some seriously machiavellian shit.

    • Kadayi says:

      Seems to be a case that Activision opted to push them before they jumped, however I expect Activision will have a hard time not paying them for owed royalties, given from a contractual perspective (putting on my legal hat) they’ve clearly delivered on their obligations.

      The other problem is that this is going to make other developers under Activision nervous, that they might try and pull further stunts like this to them after they’ve shipped.

    • SmartChimp says:

      It actually looks like they had them until October 2011, so it’s not that close, given their release schedule, they could of had another CoD from them during that period (roughly 2 year cycle).

  4. Shalrath says:

    I hope they get more than the 64 million they are asking for.

    In fact, if something were to bankrupt Activision now I’d be pretty pleased with that.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Considering WoW alone is bringing in umpteen billions year on year, I doubt a piffling lawsuit will cause a leak in Koticks money bin!

  5. The Diddler says:

    There are no “Good Guys” in this, only greed. I also laughed out loud when Activision took the word “honour” in their foul mouths.

  6. cjlr says:

    Activision is what it takes to make EA look good. Oh, the time we live in.

    You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society.

  7. Dante says:

    “Oh, why can’t more happy things happen in the videogame industry?”

    I’ve actually really enjoyed this whole saga in a ghoulish way, it’s all very cloak and dagger and sensational (Activision sent in muscle for pete’s sake!). It’s felt all proper journalisty (er… no offence).

    • Gunrun says:

      re “Muscle”
      A lot of people from outside of the US seem to pick up on this, but according to my american friend who is a Buisness Consultant (he is hired to figure out who to fire) its standard practice.

      It’s still horrible, but its not weird.

    • Dominic White says:

      No, having Bob from Security there to make sure that people don’t steal copy-paper on their way out is standard practice. Locking down the offices when their bosses are being fired elsewhere is fucking insane and I’ve never heard of anything like that before.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      It’s standard practice to have security guards escort a fired employee off the premises. It’s not standard practice here to have guys who look like “bouncers” (the description given by the IW folks) show up for no obvious reason at an office and refuse to tell anyone why they’re there. That isn’t normal at all.

    • drewski says:

      In the absence of context, wouldn’t most people more or less describe security staff as “bouncers”?

      I think of, all the things that stink about this, Activision sending a couple of guys around to IW to make sure two senior staff they just fired don’t come back and nick off with highly sensitive commercial property is so, so, so far down the list.

    • battles_atlas says:

      I think you guys might be neglecting the trend in the modern American workplace to celebrate the day of your dismissal via the emptying of several hundred FMJs into the beatifully rag-dolling bodies of your ex-colleagues.

      And if Vince and Jas did that it would have generated some awfully bad headlines for the franchise.

    • Lilliput King says:

      And if Vince and Jas did that it would have generated some awfully bad headlines for the franchise.

      That’s true. I can see them now – “Zampelle and West use FMJs on unarmoured targets, the goddam amateurs.”

  8. Dominic White says:

    Yeah, the super-shady part of all this is how it all went down at the start. Activision had apparently made no hint that they were displeased with these guys, and called them to an emergency company meeting at Activision HQ, where they accused them of insurbordination and fired them on the spot.

    But that’s not enough. They sent down the heavy-squad to lock down the IW offices.

    Why? Why would any games publisher do that? That’s shit straight out of a Tom Clancy novel. Paranoid totalitarian state behaviour. Why would they send round a large security force to a building where they KNOW the guys they’re after aren’t, because they invited them to Activision HQ. WHY!?

    • Jad says:

      An explanation that was offered on the Giant Bombcast is that the “muscle” was not to find Zampella/West, but merely to prevent them from entering the building. If they had gotten in, they could have

      1) Pulled some kind of revenge sabotage, deleting files or whatever
      or
      2) Talked to the other Infinity Ward employees, riling them up and starting trouble

      They clearly are going to talk to their former colleagues anyway, via email or whatever, but any company that permits presumably very angry ex-employees to possibly stage some kind of revolt/walk-out/sabotage on company property is a dumb company.

      If I dumped a girlfriend in some kind of repulsively vicious fashion, I might want to change my locks if I thought she might come around.

    • Jad says:

      One last thing is that I have very little information about any of this, and it could be something entirely benign, or something much more nefarious.

    • Rich says:

      “Talked to the other Infinity Ward employees, riling them up and starting trouble”

      After all, revolution always starts in the middle classes.

    • DeanLearner says:

      Yeah, Tom Clancy or the game call of du…. oh dear god, they;re cleverererer than we first thought!

  9. Stabby says:

    I think what they meant to say was

    “Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of DOLLARS.”

  10. Aninhumer says:

    Hmm developers wanting to leave and start up a new company because they aren’t being rewarded for creating popular games.
    Where have I heard that before?

  11. Jad says:

    Zampella/West’s assertion is that there’s been a calculated plan to fire them on trumped-up charges before the first Modern Warfare 2 royalty cheque hits.

    I don’t know what to make of the rest of this crazy story, but if the above statement is at all true, Activision is pulling some seriously vile shit.

  12. Primar says:

    What is it, something around 65% – 70% of Activision’s profits are made entirely from WoW (controlled by Blizzard), Gitaroo Ma- Guitar Hero (being rapidly and efficiently run so far into the ground they won’t even need to dig a grave for it), and CoD. Damn straight they’re going to hold on as tightly as possible to one of their key IP’s – we all already know what Kotick’s like.

  13. Ed says:

    I think it seems logical that Activision can’t be entirely to blame here – it’s pretty unusual for people to get sued by their employer like this – so there must be a fair amount of history we don’t know. That’s not to say that Activision aren’t the devil reincarnate – but let’s think a little before we stand up for ‘the little guy’.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Why does it seem logical? I think that at this point we simply don’t know enough to make a sound judgement on that.

      Although we can guess.

  14. Drexer says:

    Portuguese current politics scandals vs Activision business scandals which is weirder.

    And that’s saying a lot, believe me.

  15. Samuel Bigos says:

    EA are the good guys, they’ve proven that with Bad Company 2 which is fantastic. I hope they join up with EA and leave the CoD franchise to burn with Activision.

    • rocketman71 says:

      They would be if BC2 had LAN support and public dedicated servers.

      Being better than that bastard Kotick doesn’t make them the good guys. Just better than Activision.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      It’s funny how EA are now the good guys in light of Ubisoft and Activision lately. To think only a few years ago EA were considered evil incarnate. It just goes to show, if you correct and atone for your mistakes, most people are willing to give you a second chance.

    • Stromko says:

      It’s more like if you stop being so actively evil, your competitors will eventually make you seem guiltless in comparison.

      In a perfect world there’d be some kind of ethics board, cracking down on monopolies and protecting the intellectual property rights of companies AND customers. If we let companies shut down great developers and start shoveling us the same sh*t games non stop, that’s bad for the industry and bad for the economy.

    • Rich says:

      Monopolies seem to get cracked down on within the EU. The lengthy battle against Microsoft’s browser monopoly?

      I don’t see intervention like that taking place in the States though.

  16. Thristhart says:

    I think an issue we’re all suffering from is a bad perspective. As consumers and gamers, we’re more likely to side with those poor developers over that big bad Activision company. However, we need to look at the issue from all sides here. Imagine you’re an Activision exec, and try to understand the purpose behind the firing. Of course, whoever made the decision obviously didn’t check with the PR dept., because this is a PR disaster. Or the PR department needs the firing a lot more than the developers.

    And of course Activision wants money. Companies like Valve who seem to be all about being friendly to the community are just better at public relations. And this greed is not a bad thing. This greed powers the capitalist engine and ensures highest quality goods for cheapest prices.

    OR ARE YOU A PINKO COMMUNIST?!

    • Lemon scented apocalypse says:

      Amen

    • drewski says:

      I don’t think it’s so much the blatant capitalism that’s somewhat annoying people, it’s the perception of underhandedness.

      Fine, IW don’t want to turn CoD into a catch-all franchise with two or three titles every year. You got the IP rights? Tough. But if IW still have the IP rights to the Modern Warfare name, then sorry, Acitvision, you can’t have that. You agreed.

      And either way, don’t try scamming the people who busted their ass for your profit margins out of their royalty payments. That is a colossal douche move.

      If all Activision did was pay them off, release the MW name to them and fire them over the “creative” differences in the CoD franchise direction, I don’t think most of this would have happened. It’s the dirty way they’ve gone about it that stinks.

    • Rich says:

      Waves pink flag.

    • Discordance says:

      Greed does not make good games. Greed works for physical products where experience is not the primary aspect of the product. Greed results in massively awful franchises that get progressively worse and we are expected to buy because it was good once upon a time. Valve maintains successful franchises because they make good games first. They exercise all their greed on growing the steam platform and making money off other peoples games.

    • Discordance says:

      Whoops before you poke wholes in my argument, Steam is obviously non-physical, but it is a piece of business software rather than a creative endeavour which was my main point.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      The people’s flag is deepest pink
      It’s not as red as you might think

  17. Sobric says:

    I suppose I’m on West and Zampella’s side on this, as I loathe Activision. However, the MW2 fiasco was a bit of a low-blow for PC customers so I struggle to raise enough sympathy.

    In fact, I think I’m leaning firmly towards a completely apathetic….

    oh fuck it.

  18. Codicier says:

    My personal hunch is that activision are just saving themselves some consultation fees for the research on the “newly-revealed COD action-adventure” which will be titled “Call of Duty: Office Warfare”

    The setting of the game builds on the controversy of the ‘no Russian’ level in modern warfare 2 with a level called “No Royalties” , where you play a undercover corporate spy who must stop a renegade studio making off with money they sneakily acquired by doing exactly what they were paid for.
    The game will come with a warning to reassure jittery game execs that ‘no money was harmed in the creation of this franchise’

    • Spacewalk says:

      And will we be able to skip that level?

    • Kadayi says:

      @Codicier

      Quality post. I’d play that level ;)

    • tssk says:

      That isso funny I’m going to repost that on rllmuk. Hope you don’t mind. You’ll get the credit but I’ll keep the royalties :)

  19. Thiefsie says:

    Yarrrrr if it wasn’t for piracy none of this would have happened and everyone would have truckloads of cash in royalties and would be sipping latté’s at the beach together dreaming up ideas for CoD: Clone Division.

  20. Matodda says:

    Weren’t West and Zampella responsible for the crap port job of MW2? **** Activision and all, but I don’t think it could have happened to a more deserving pair.

  21. Zeddo says:

    It’s funny that between this and Ubisoft’s new DRM, EA are looking more like the good guys. Who woulda thunk it 2 years ago?

  22. Frank says:

    Two excellent headlines in a row. Well done, Mr Meer!

  23. Navagon says:

    Anything bad happening to Activision is a happy thing happening in the games industry.

  24. scoopsy says:

    Thank you for posting some coverage of this issue. I love your coverage of the smaller hard-to-find bits od gaming, but I also appreciate it when you guys take on the bigger issues. It’s good to get your insight into the matters, and it’s also nice when RPS is my only source of gaming news.

  25. And Triage says:

    CORPORATE BASTARDS.

    and corporate pawns.

    Shadowrun?

  26. TenjouUtena says:

    You know what’s Sad ™? I’m sure Activision has an entire gameplan on this, with contingencies for each of IW’s various moves available to them.

    How I would love to get my hands on that document. AmIRite?

  27. Jayt says:

    “So… does that make EA the good guys now?”

    lesser of two evils, in my mind

  28. Feanor says:

    Activision can huff and puff all they want, but there’s no way they want this getting to a jury.

  29. gryffinp says:

    Recent gaming news in summary:

    Activision are dicking about with one of their most profitable studios.

    Ubisoft is rolling out a brand new DRM system to nigh-universial derision.

    Valve are being awesome.

    Things never change.

  30. Adventurous Putty says:

    Ooo, the realpolitik of the thing is really rather interesting. I suppose it’s all Serious Business, what with the series being such a cash cow and everything.

  31. Urthman says:

    Kotaku has posted a copy of the lawsuit filed against Activision.

    Page 10 in particular, if true, sounds utterly, outrageously evil.

    http://kotaku.com/5485703/ousted-infinity-ward-founders-lawsuit-against-activision-the-court-documents/gallery/

  32. Sigmund_Fraud says:

    Modern warfare indeed ….

  33. ZIGS says:

    Indeed, Sócrates and Kotick should team up

    • ZIGS says:

      Betrayed by RPS’ dodgy reply system again! This was a response to Drexter

  34. x25killa says:

    EA are slighty less evil than Activision. They still both evil, no matter what good games they did in the past.

  35. Risingson says:

    I have the feeling that this is more gossip than anything else.

    • drewski says:

      When lawsuits start being filed, things have progressed far beyond gossip.

    • Risingson says:

      I really can’t see the relation. This is pure gossip, and has nothing to do with us as customers or the final product consideration.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Gossip based on substantially.. interesting tidbits of information.

    • Risingson says:

      Now wait a minute. Am I the only one who is afraid on how quickly we jump into conclusions? What do we have as information? Litigations? So what?

      I mean, now Infinity Ward are the good guys?

    • drewski says:

      Gossip – “oh did you hear what Tony did on the weekend with Liz? LULZ!”
      Serious business – multiple multi-million dollar lawsuits being filed.

      I can’t believe you genuinely think someone’s going to file a US$36m lawsuit over watercooler chat.

  36. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Kill them all then give all their money to that Indie Fund thing.

  37. Lemon scented apocalypse says:

    “Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless. Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.“In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

    IM ALAN PARTRIDGE!

  38. The Dark One says:

    As hard as I try, the only image of the Activision execs and their termination squad that I can come up with is straight out of the show Better Off Ted.

  39. Heliosicle says:

    I feel like a bad person for buying MW2…

    • Rei Onryou says:

      That’s good. It shows you have a conscience.

      I’ve still yet to have the desire to get MW2 (and no, I didn’t pirate it) and these events further the point of it being a lowest common denominator money grabbing game. And that’s before looking at the PC specific problems. The Steam MW2 boycott group could learn a lot from me.

    • Wulf says:

      Me too!

      First thought here was “Yay, Rei’s coming over to my side of things!” >.>

      But really, it did come across as a low-brow mess of a game. Fun, to be sure, but definitely not worth the asking price. A huge old pastiche, really. With the sort of thing the PC release (at least) was, I’d half expect to find that sort of thing for £10 in a bargain bin. It’ll be interesting when NS2 comes along and it’s of higher quality than the MW2 port.

  40. Grape Flavor says:

    This week is rattling my remaining confidence in game publishers. Of course I always knew they were cynical and profit-obsessed, but that’s their job. I think until recently I assumed some basic level of good faith and fair play that really doesn’t seem to exist at all. Activision in particular seems to be careening down a path of fraud and thuggery, it’ll be interesting to see how this strategy plays out with the law. But really, as soon as Bobby Kotick uttered the phrase “skepticism, pessimism, and fear”, we all should have known something like this was in the pipeline.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      I’m sure Kotick is fulfilling his responsibilities to the stockholdes. $36 million is a big expense, and if it can be avoided, well….. just remember there’s no such thing as right and wrong until the judge says otherwise.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Also, gimme a hit of that “remaining confidence” you got there.

  41. Codicier says:

    How could i be so stupid, its all so clear to me now!

    This is not a example of corporate greed, but in fact part of a ARG created by Introversion to promote Subversion.
    Just take a look at those early screen shots shown at BAFTA, clearly all those workstation and server racks must represent the inside of a game studio, and just look at how they describe the game:

    “Subversion is going to be set in a modern High Tech environment, with you taking “mission control” over a team of skilled operatives in a hostile High Security building. You will be using Sabotage, Social Engineering and Grifting, custom Electrical and Mechanical devices, Distractions, Hacking, Stealth, Acrobatics, Precision demolitions, Trickery, whatever gets the job done. In the best case scenarios your enemies will never know you were even there. When things go wrong, a well prepared escape plan and well timed precision violence will get you out of a tight spot – or maybe not.”

    sounds like a perfect description of this whole sorry business to me

    • Rei Onryou says:

      @Codicier: I hope IV make an easter egg mission based on this.

    • Wulf says:

      At the very least, it needs an Actor Division, which is stuffed with the greatest idiots that they could find, idiots who pretend to be certain things, such as ninjas, secret agents, and so on, and are then dispatched to various places to wreak havoc by being completely conspicuous whilst pretending to be sneaky infiltration dudes.

      “I’M FROM ACTORD, WE’RE HERE TO DO A HOSTILE TAKEOVER THINGY!”
      “…but, those are water pistols.”
      “I-I knew that! Are you insinuating I didn’t know that?! Strap a bomb to him, make an example!”
      “…that’s a pineapple.”
      “I KNEW THAT!”

      It’s the perfect diversion, and entertaining!

  42. GT3000 says:

    The assertions about Activision’s ineptitude might be right for all accords but my experience with the legal rights of companies in regarding to dismiss employees shows that so long as they weren’t being discriminatory, it was perfectly within Activision’s legal right to dismiss them. The resulting court battle might set precedent away from that but Zampella/West hold the burden of proof not Activision. I’d definitely like to see how this plays out in court, greed is commonplace but as is arrogance and insubordination.

    Compliant filed by the plantiffs.

    http://kotaku.com/5485703/ousted-infinity-ward-founders-lawsuit-against-activision-the-court-documents/

    • Calabi says:

      They may be within their rights, but is it within their rights to refuse to pay them, the money that they are owed, for the job which they have completed?

      If it is then america is a sick country with sick laws.

  43. zornbringer says:

    well, all we are able to do is speculate. if you ignore all the facts that were released so far, what does this tell you? for me it just gives bad reputation to activision and a big questionmark whats going on at infinity ward.

    my guess: IW actually are trying to establish a new studio indipendent from activision. they probably already applied for EA and got fired because of that. they dont agree with the fact that activision rips the cod series into pieces, plans rpgs with different sudios. IW probably got tired to see their “art” converted into some kind of money making product. the consequence is to change the publisher, or move the team to another publisher.

  44. terry says:

    - Use a variety of tactics (knock door down, smash window) to enter hostile company premises!
    - Customizable loadouts – including pepper spray, riot shield, memorandum of understanding
    - Haul staff over desks! Intimidate witnesses!
    - Use destructable scenery and realistic physics to flail wildly around office buildings spreading discontent!

    Is it a game or a vacancy? Activision’s brand new IP, VIDEO GAME REPO MAN, coming this fall.

  45. Premium User Badge Okami says:

    All this reminded me of how happy I’m to live in a country that actually has things like work councils, workers rights and a legal system that’s favouring employees over employers. If Activision had sent security goons to the studio over here, they’d been sued to hell and back.

  46. Muzman says:

    Some legal eagles might have a better perspective on this but it strikes me as rather strange of Activision to put out a press release over being counter sued like that. If you’ve got a solid case you stop talking and wait for the hearing, or even if you don’t. It’s like admitting they were really hoping the guys would roll over and settle.

    • drewski says:

      They have to make an SEC filing and stock market disclosure for something significant like this, so if they’re doing that anyway, they might as well fire out a little bit of PR to (hopefully) stop their shareholders from going into panic mode.

    • Muzman says:

      Yeah, some shareholder damage control makes sense I guess. It’s a pretty big piece of property they’re tussling over.

  47. Rich says:

    Muscle, with orders to do what exactly?

  48. archonsod says:

    “Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans”

    Continue? I’m still waiting for you to start …

  49. Reiver says:

    Depends where you work. To me security guard is a middle aged fat man in a ribbed woolen v-neck that always has a folded paper within two feet of him.

  50. gulag says:

    Prediction: Medal of Honour: Modern Warfare. 2012

    • SanguineAngel says:

      @ gulag: Isn’t that happening already? only this year/next year?

    • walle says:

      I doubt the devs are going to all of the sudden start spelling words funny…