There has been quite a bit of activity with latest pc gaming news 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 hardÂ details behindÂ why Vince and JasonÂ left the studio have been sparse, but hereÂ are the facts and speculations we know so far.
– On Monday Activision filed documentation with the SEC regarding a human resources investigation into possible “…breaches of contracts and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward.” The filing also says,Â “This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation.” Later, inside sources stated that Zampella and West were not seen at the Infinity Ward premises.
-Â It has beenÂ confirmedÂ that Infinity Ward founder Vince Zampella and co-founder Jason West have updated their Linked In pages to show an end of employment with Infinity Ward datedÂ March 2010. This confirms that they are the “two senior employees” the SEC filing referred to.
– WhyÂ would Activision fire (or allow the departure of) the studio heads behind the development of one of the publisher’s most profitable games? Some rumors tossed around at Kotaku pointed to inside sources saying that Zampella and West had a history of butting heads with the publisher regarding Call of Duty’s creative direction.
– How is this going to affect future Call of Duty games from Infinity Ward? Will a substantial portion of the development team leave the studio to follow Zampella and West? If history repeats itself, that could be the case. Zampella and West originally worked for 2015, Inc., the developers behind Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and when they left that studio manyÂ other members of the development team followed in their wake.
At this time its difficult to say what will happen next. Activision seems to be moving on as they have already announced future plans for the Call of DutyÂ series that involve a third development studio to developÂ the series’s annual releaseÂ and plans have been announced to take the series to other genres. Zampella and West have yet to give any commentary on the matter and given that this issue has been given a day to cool we may not hear any further information about what happened. Until new news arrives this is all we know.