By Jared Newman | Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm
Some really strange things happened this week between Call of Duty publisher Activision and Infinity Ward, the studio that created the franchise and developed last year’s blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Long story short: The studio’s two heads, Jason West and Vince Zampella were abruptly fired for “breaches of contract and insubordination,” according to an SEC filing. Shortly thereafter, Activision announced that one of its internal studios, Sledgehammer Games, would be making a Call of Duty game for 2011. Infinity Ward developed the last two Call of Duty games released in odd-numbered years.
It makes for high drama, but it’s mostly inside baseball. Things just got interesting, however, with the announcement of a lawsuit from West and Zampella against Activision. In addition to seeking compensation for royalties Activision allegedly owes, the former Infinity Ward heads are looking for control over “Modern Warfare-branded games,” reports G4’s Patrick Klepek.
If West and Zampella prevail, think of the implications. Activision’s already releasing Call of Duty games annually, alternating between studios to keep things fresh. Modern Warfare, as its own franchise, could theoretically become its own franchise and sit next to Call of Duty on store shelves. You could get three games with the same DNA in a two-year span (and somehow I don’t think gamers will get tired of this).
The funny thing is, last year I wildly predicted that a full Modern Warfare spinoff was conceivable. Of course I had no idea it might happen through messy internal politics and lawsuits.