While most of you slept, drama struck Infinity Ward, the creators of the Call of Duty series, with allegations of "insubordination" from publishers Activision and the rumoured departure of the studio's two top men. This post will be updated throughout the day.
The news first hit yesterday afternoon, when G4 reported that IW heads Vince Zampella and Jason West had met with Activision, after which neither were seen from again by staffers and "a bunch of bouncer-types" showed up outside Infinity Ward's offices.
The situation between the developer and publisher had been described as "tense" for some time.
Things got interesting a few hours later, when updates to Jason West's Linkedin page revealed that he had ceased employment at the developer.
And then got really interesting when an SEC filing from earlier in the day revealed that Activision had launched an investigation into some allegedly iffy conduct at Infinity Ward, including "insubordination" and "breaches of contract" that affected "two senior employees" at the studio.
That's everything we've heard, so far. Fascinating stuff for the innocent bystander. But what do we actually know?
What's Been Rumoured
- That IW bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West have been fired. Neither the pair nor Activision have issued statements regarding the issue, so the nature of their employment (or departure) is yet to be confirmed; remember, the Activision SEC filing only mentions "two senior employees", it doesn't name names. Indeed, we haven't heard anything from Zampella regarding the situation.
- That Activision sent security guards to the Infinity Ward offices. Who those men are, who sent them and more importantly, what they were doing there have yet to be determined. All we have are reports that they were "bouncer-types", nothing more.
What We Know
- The Activision SEC filing is legit, and is concrete information. They are serious allegations, and will probably result in a major lawsuit.
- Jason West no longer works at Infinity Ward. His Linkedin profile page is legitimate, and clearly states that he ceased employment at the studio in March 2010. We just don't know why/how he no longer works there.
That's it. Be sure to separate the two when considering the situation, as things are still incredibly murky. We will of course update you (and this post) throughout the day as we hear more on the situation.
Update 4: It's all over but the shouting, it seems. Activision just laid out their plans for the Call of Duty series, which includes a business unit and a new studio.
Update 3: We take a look at the tension between Activision and Infinity Ward that may have lead to today's turmoil. Hint: It involves the direction of Call of Duty.
Update 2: G4 reports about 1 p.m. MT that Bobby Kotick is scheduled to meet with Infinity Ward "momentarily". Officially, Activision still hasn't responded to multiple requests for comment.
Update 1: CEO and studio head Vince Zampella's Linked In account updated about 9 a.m. Mountain time this morning. The profile now shows his job at Infinity Ward as previous employment. Under experience Zampella lists his job ending at Infinity Ward this month, after 8 years and three months with the company. His current job and title are listed as TBD.