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Trailer Released for Call of Duty: Black Ops

by Kyle Lehtinen May 3, 2010 3:12 PM CST
filed under news, pc, ps3, xbox 360

A name and release date we already knew for Treyarch's next iteration to the Call of Duty series, but what we didn't know (for sure at least) was  the when and where the game will take place. Gametrailers TV had their big reveal Friday night with the debut trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops, and while there were many hints indicating a Vietnam era war game, there were also some more modern elements thrown in than we expected. Take a look for yourself below.

For Gametrailer's breakdown of the trailer, hit the jump

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Next Call of Duty Called Black Ops, Release Date Announced…Kinda

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 30, 2010 11:51 AM CST
filed under news

The big reveal of Activision's next Call of Duty title was supposed to be saved for tonights Gametrailer's TV, but that hasn't stopped the game's website from launching and inadvertently leaking details for the game. Granted there's no real content currently on the site, but there is the image posted above that confirms a release date and an official title.

From rumors abound on the interwebs we're pretty sure Treyarch's iteration of the series focuses on the Vietnam era, but with a title like "Black Ops" it's obvious that there may be more to the game than smoking doobies in between bouts with the Vietcong. Kotaku has some thoughts that the game may involve additional espionage or cold war related activities, but their guess is as good as any now. Aside from a name, it's easy to see the game is slated for a November release, just as every other CoD game before it.

Titles and release dates aside the bulk of the game's reveal is still slated to happen on tonight's GTTV on Spike TV. Tune in to the station at 12:30 AM or wait for our update when more details come to light.

Bungivision: Bungie and Activision Enter Into a 10-Year Partnership

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 29, 2010 11:43 AM CST
filed under industry, news

Bungie has recently announced on their community blog that they have entered into a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision. From what is mentioned in the announcement, it appears this new partnership is meant to allow Bungie a world-wide recognized publisher with which to release original intellectual property on mulitple platforms:

The groundbreaking alliance will provide Bungie its first such partnership since splitting off from Microsoft in 2007, significantly broadening its global reach by providing the resources and support to develop, distribute and release games worldwide on multiple platforms and devices.

The details of the agreement stipulate that Activision retains the right to publish Bungie games based on new, original IP's which can translate to "no halo on PS3" depending on how you look at it. Bungie also retains all rights to their own content and will remain an independent company from Activision, meaning the possibility of another Infinity Ward/Activision fiasco would be highly unlikely.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of plans Bungie has with this new agreement. With E3 little more than a month away we expect more details to come to light. Stay tuned for more information as it develops.

Infinity Ward Employees Sue Activision

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 28, 2010 2:52 PM CST
filed under industry, news

Hoo boy, things are getting very serious with the media debacle that is Infinity Ward and Activision. A group of around thiry-eight Infinity Ward employees have filed a lawsuit against Activision claiming the publisher has not paid the full amount of bonuses and royalities owed to the developer since the release of Modern Warfare 2; going so far as to say that Activision is intentionally holding the developer's payment hostage in order to keep employees working at IW to develop (and subsequently reap the rewards of) Modern Warfare 3.

According to G4TV, the employees taking part in the suit include "a significant portion of the members of the creative team" for Modern Warfare 2.  Information filed within the suit mentions that Activision has paid Infinity Ward around $28 million for the game, but is charged for witholding an additional $54 million for 2009's profits, not including amounts yet to be payed for the games success in 2010. In addition to the money owed, the IW employees are seeking anywhere from $75 million to $500 million in punitive damages. The suit also mentions Activision's breach of contract by failing to pay terminated or departing employees their due within seventy-two hours of their end of employment.

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Infinity Ward Looses Five More of Their Crew

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 23, 2010 9:54 PM CST
filed under industry, news

Well, Infinity Ward is definitely bleeding talent. Five more employees have parted ways with the Modern Warfare developer bringing the total tally of deserters to something around 17 since the studio's former headman got the sack. The latest handful to jump ship include Senior designers Mohammad Alavi, Chad Grenier, and Brent Mcleod as well as programmer Chris Lambert and designer Jason McCord. Just as with many of the other departed no new comments have been given as to why they've left the company, though it may have something to do with Zampella and West's recent "respawn" in the industry.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that these aren't the last people we'll see leave Infinity Ward. In fact, with Respawn Entertainment due to get started sometime  in May, it's wholly possible that Infinity Ward will have few (if any) of their original talent within the next couple months.

[via Kotaku]

Activision to Release Three New COD Games Over Next Two Years

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 22, 2010 5:31 PM CST
filed under industry, news

In a herculean effort to squeeze every last drop of blood out of the Call of Duty stone, Activision's Dan Amrich revealed in a Facebook thread that the publisher is planning on releasing three more Call of Duty games before the earth has a chance to finish two consecutive revolutions around the sun.

As for COD, they've confirmed three games in the next two years. Seeing as how there is a pattern of one new COD game every year, this is one new COD game from one new developer, and in a different genre from the core games we've seen. I don't think that's comparable to what happened last year with Guitar Hero, but maybe you see it differently.

So there's Treyarch's COD coming out this year which is rumored to take place in Vietnam, Infinity Ward's COD game which is assumed to be Modern Warfare 3, and finally, this third COD game which is said to be an action/adventure title meant to broaden the series audience. That's a lot of Duty. We better start digging a hole next to Guitar Hero so we can get ready to drive this series into the ground.

[via VG247]

Exodus Continues at Infinity Ward with Four More Departures

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 14, 2010 10:13 AM CST
filed under news

Infinity Ward is quickly loosing the base people that made the developer what it is today. According to Kotaku, four more key individuals - lead designers Steve Fukuda and Zied Reike, lead artist Chris Cherubini, and programmer Rayme Vinson - jumped ship yesterday from the billion selling Modern Warfare 2 developer. This comes a few days after former IW founders announced a the formation of a new studio, Respawn Entertainment, and publishing agreement with Activion's biggest rival Electronic Arts.

Its worth noting that Cherubini and Vinson were also developers at 2015, inc., the studio that developed the EA published Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. When West and Zampella departed from 2015 to found Infinity Ward the Cherubini and Vinson followed suit. Given the steady stream of resignation from IW since West and Zampella's firing its possible that more and more developers will continue to leave Infinity Ward.

[via Kotaku]

Infinity Ward Loses More Talent

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 6, 2010 11:50 AM CST
filed under news

Two more long time employees of Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward have departed from the company around a month after studio founder and co-founder Vince Zampella and Jason West were fired for "breaches of contract and insubordination." Lead Designer Todd Alderman, who played a hefty role in Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer and story, and Lead Software Engineer Francesco Gigliotti both updated their Linkedin profile to reflect their now previous employment with Infinity Ward.

There's a lot of ugly speculation surrounding the Activision/Infinity Ward sackings. Activision has accused West and Zampella for courting rival publisher Electronic Arts for other Call of Duty related games while West and Zampella has accused Activision of deliberately withholding royalty payments to the developer for their work with Modern Warfare 2. Legal recourse is still brewing behind closed doors and the determination between who is right and who is wrong can be decidedly gray.

Its likely that more people will end up leaving Infinity Ward to follow West and Zampella. When the two left 2015, inc., developer of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, a lot of talent went with them which didn't very well help the developer in the long run. If things keep up the way they are now then Infinity Ward will surely suffer the same fate.

Why Infinity Ward Would Betray Activision

feature

by James Pikover Mar 5, 2010 12:44 AM CST
filed under editorials, features

The hubbub of Infinity Ward and Activision is huge. Call of Duty creators Vince Zampella and Jason West have supposedly been speaking to other publishers. Lawsuits are in order, the two are now gone from Infinity Ward, and Activision may be searching for incriminating documents, alleging communication between Infinity Ward and other publishers, specifically EA.

But why would they do that? They left EA, created one of Activision's most popular franchises, and just released one of the biggest blockbuster titles to date. Doesn't that make Activision and Infinity Ward the best of partners?

Apparently not. When Infinity Ward's creators initially left EA, the current #2 gaming publisher in the world was in a similar position to Activision: at the top of their game, raking in the big bucks, and selling some of the hottest games around. But they were also controlling, and ended up making Zampella and West decide to leave, presumably because they are artists and creators, not marketers and moneymakers.

With that mindset in hand, they went to Activision and created Call of Duty, which became a smash hit and single-handedly killed the Medal of Honor franchise. Not only did it make bring Infinity Ward into the limelight, it helped propel Activision to the status they currently have now: videogame publisher supergiant. Ironically, Infinity Ward's success has been their curse. Each new game they bring pulls in so much money and demand that the publishers step in to make sure no mistakes are made.

So who's at fault? Activision can't be blamed; as a publisher, it's their job to do whatever it takes to ensure the games they publish make the most money. Infinity Ward, on the other hand, put themselves in harms way, for the second time. It's no coincidence that the two largest game publishers have taken advantage of the popular developer to make money, and the pattern is repeating now.

If Infinity Ward is indeed looking to EA for future projects, it makes sense. EA has for the last three years been very generous to their developers, and has also helped create quite a few new IPs. Activision, however, won't just let the developer go, and has a vice-grip stronger than any competitor today. Our only message to Zampella and West: make sure Activision doesn't find anything compromising. We don't want to see you go just yet.

Activision and Infinity Ward: The Facts and Speculations

by Kyle Lehtinen Mar 3, 2010 11:11 AM CST
filed under industry, news

There has been quite a bit of activity lately between Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward and publisher Activision which started with the arrival of some "bouncer-types" at the offices of Infinity Ward and later lead to confirmation that studio heads Vince Zampella and Jason West were no longer under the developer's employ. Aside from some vague explanations made by Activision concerning breaches of contracts and investigations of "insubordination", cold hard details behind why Vince and Jason left the studio have been sparse, but here are the facts and speculations we know so far.

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