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Activision Plans To Release Just Two DLC Packs For Modern Warfare 2

UPDATE 3:23 PM: Add another to the list -- senior designer Brent McLeod. So it continues.

ORIGINAL STORY: The exodus at Infinity Ward continues, with Kotaku reporting another four developers have turned in letters of resignation. This follows news that eight former Infinity Ward developers have joined their former bosses, Jason West and Vince Zampella, at Respawn Entertainment.

The latest departures from Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward are senior designers Mohammad Alavi and Chad Grenier, programmer Chris Lambert and designer Jason McCord.

Alavi, who worked on designing the infamous "No Russian" mission in Modern Warfare 2, recently updated his Linkedin profile to reflect that his time at Infinity Ward has come to an end.

None of the developers have announced where they're off to next. Will they join friends at Respawn?

Source: Kotaku

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We're At Eight -- Yet Another Ex-Infinity Ward Developer Enlists At Respawn

The count continues. Former Infinity Ward lead software engineer Francesco Gigliotti updated his Linkedin profile overnight to reflect his newfound employment at Respawn Entertainment.

Gigliotti joins seven others who have publicly declared joining up with former Infinity Ward leadership Vince Zampella and Jason West at their new startup, Respawn. All eight used to work at Infinity Ward alongside West and Zampella and retained their jobs titles at Respawn.

Here's the list of ex-Infinity Ward employees who have announced jobs at Respawn:

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Five Favorite Call of Duty Moments

UPDATE 6:05 PM: Ding. Another ex-Infinity Ward developer has landed at Respawn Entertainment. This time, it's former lead designer Mackey McCandlish, who I'm informed announced his news over Facebook.

UPDATE 5:25 PM: One more. Programmer Jon Shiring has confirmed he's joined the studio over Twitter. "I have accepted a job with Respawn Entertainment," said Shiring. "I can't wait for May 1st!"

UPDATE 4:13 PM: And then there were five. Former Infinity Ward software engineer Rayme C. Vinson has also joined Respawn Entertainment, according to a Facebook status update. Vinson's update says he starts work at Respawn Entertainment on May 1 and will perform the same development role at the new startup from West and Zampella.

UPDATE 4:04 PM: Todd Alderman is not alone; we have three more Respawn Entertainment recruits to add to the list. Former Infinity Ward lead animator Mark Grigsby, lead environmental artist Chris Cherubini and lead animator John Paul Messerly have all joined Respawn Entertainment under the same roles, according to updated Linkedin profiles

ORIGINAL STORY: After Activision fired former Infinity Ward leadership Jason West and Vince Zampella, a steady stream of senior designers, programmers, artists and other employees have turned in letters of resignation. All of them have been quiet about their future plans. It's been widely speculated that some would follow their former studio heads to their new company, Respawn Entertainment.

Now, it's official.

Former Infinity Ward lead designer Todd Alderman has joined Respawn Entertainment as a lead game designer, according to his Linkedin profile.

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Activision: Modern Warfare 2 Could Be Biggest

When Jason West and Vince Zampella were fired from Infinity Ward by Activision, the former studio leadership were also losing out on substantial bonuses from development on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. There's a ongoing lawsuit about that money, but Activision social media manager (and former games writer) Dan Amrich told Facebook users in an anti-Activision group the bonuses owed to West and Zampella would be "redistributed" throughout Infinity Ward.

"Vince and Jason had very large bonuses; those bonuses are being redistributed to everybody else, to the people who did not allegedly attempt to steal company secrets," said Amrich, referencing allegations made within lawsuit. "Activision is not pocketing that bonus money; it's still going to the people who work at IW. But you have to work at IW to get it, see? :) I don't want to see talented people screwed out of a paycheck any more than you do."

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The Verdict: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Stimulus Package

As the Infinity Ward exodus continues, Activision is finally speaking out.

Activision COO and CFO Thomas Tippl recently spoke with the LA Times about the continued turmoil at the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare developer and what it means for Activision's future.

"Infinity Ward still has nearly 100 people," explained Tippl, responding to the continued wave of resignations. "They’ve built a deep bench, and the change of guard will provide an opportunity for some of the rising stars to put their own stamp on the Call of Duty franchise. In addition, we will provide them with all the resources internally and recruit talent from the outside."

More people may leave Infinity Ward before the internal storm calms, but Tippl doesn't believe it will affect Infinity Ward or Activision's ability to recruit top talent for future game development.

"We treat our developers extremely well," he said. "We have an independent studio model that provides them a lot of creative freedom while we take care of the back office stuff so they can focus on making games. [...] We ensure your work will reach a wide audience. Therefore, we have attracted, and we will continue to attract, the top talent in this industry."

It's believed Activision wants Infinity Ward to immediately move forward with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a game whose troubled pre-production status is mentioned in the current lawsuit between former Infinity Ward leadership, now the founders of Respawn Entertainment, and Activision.

Source: LA Times

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Box Art Face-Off: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare vs. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

The below YouTube video from PCGamerUK uses the Modern Warfare 2 credits to graphically illustrate the number of employees who have jumped ship from Infinity Ward in recent weeks. Check it out:

 

That's probably not all, though.

Read More »



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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Given 18 Rating In UK

When Activision said they looked forward to working with Infinity Ward’s “deep bench” of talent, in response to the former heads of Infinity Ward forming their own company with Electronic Arts, clearly they weren’t counting on that bench getting up and walking out the door. However, today it’s being reported that another batch of staffers have departed the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare developer.

Modern Warfare 2
lead designers Steve Fukuda and Zied Reike have both resigned from IW, as have programmer Rayme Vinson and lead artist Chris Cherubini, reports Kotaku. As was brought up yesterday following the revelation of several other key IW departures, whether these individuals will flock to Respawn Entertainment, the newly announced company formed by ex-IW leaders Vince Zampella and Jason West, remains to be seen.

However, given their histories together, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising. For instance, as Kotaku points out, Fakuda left Medal of Honor developer 2015 Inc., which Zampella and West founded, to join the duo’s next studio, IW, and both Fukuda and Rieke were nominated for best game writing by the Writer’s Guild of America, alongside Todd Alderman and Mackey McCandlish, both of whom recently left IW as well. Where all these folks will end up isn't clear just yet, but what is clear is that Acitivision needs to find a way to stop the bleeding, and fast.

Source: Kotaku

Should the need arise, feel free to E-Mail me your tips, suggestions, and/or personal philosophies, or follow me on Twitter.

Respawn Entertainment Hopes Their Next Game

Right now, Respawn Entertainment doesn't have a logo, office or proper website. All that's on www.respawn.com is a call for job applicants, as former Infinity Ward leaders Jason West and Vince Zampella are the only guys working at Respawn for the moment. When I spoke with West and Zampella yesterday, however, they did have a promise to fans about their next game.

"It's all about fans and coming up with something that's going to make their head explode and get them completely excited and give them a ton of fun," said West over the phone. "We can't wait to start talking to them about what we're doing and what they'd love to see us do."

Respawn doesn't have a game in development yet. The studio does have a deal with Electronic Arts. EA will be funding the not-yet-decided Respawn project and likely subsequent sequels. The key difference here, however, is that Respawn owns everything about the game -- not EA.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

There have been some new developments regarding Jason West and Vincent Zampella, the two heads of Infinity Ward that left the company under unique circumstances. As of this week they announced they would be creating Respawn Entertainment, a developer partnered with EA that would retain the rights to all the intellectual properties they develop. While this isn't a first in the world of gaming, these kind of deals are reserved for the select few, so The Sess decided to use this week's Soapbox as a forum for discussing what this may mean for the gaming industry as a whole. Do you think the ripples of this agreement will shake up how other publishers and developers work?

Sessler's Soapbox: Ex Infinity Ward Heads Shaking Up Gaming »



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Infinity WardInfinity Ward continues to see staffers jump ship in the wake of the continued drama that has surrounded the developer and Activision over the past month and a half.

As IGN reports, programmer Jon Shiring and Modern Warfare 2 lead designer Mackey McCandlish both announced their departures from Infinity Ward yesterday via their respective Twitter accounts.

The announcements conveniently came on the same day that former IW heads Vince Zampella and Jason West announced the formation of their new Electronic Arts-financed company, Respawn Entertainment.

Last week, it was reported that lead designer Todd Alderman and software engineer Francesco Gigliotti had also left Infinity Ward after working there for around eight years each.

It’s easy to assume that ex-IW folks will be welcomed with open arms at Respawn, but there’s no telling how many will take advantage of it. Senior animator Bruce Ferriz, who also recently left IW, told IGN that he is now working for Big Red Button Entertainment.

Source: IGN

Should the need arise, feel free to E-Mail me your tips, suggestions, and/or personal philosophies, or follow me on Twitter.

What One Former Infinity Ward Employee Thinks Of Ex-CEO Vince Zampella

Respawn Entertainment is the new studio headed by former Infinity Ward leadership Vince Zampella and Jason West, who were fired by Activision in March. Respawn has a website but no logo, no office, and no game. Respawn does have a publishing deal with Electronic Arts when the company does begin developing games over the next few years. The deal is with EA Partners, not EA proper, which means Zampella and West get something Activision couldn't provide: control over their creative destiny.

EA doesn't own Respawn's future gaming franchise, Respawn does.

The duo are still caught in a legal battle with their former publisher, but it hasn't stopped them from moving forward. Respawn is open for business as of today, actively accepting job applications, and they spoke over the phone with me this morning, joined by EA Partners head David De Martini, to discuss what life is like after Infinity Ward, their future and what it feels like to be fired from Activision.

G4: Why today? You're just starting. It's just the two of you and the EA partnership. What made it so important to get the announcement out so quickly, given that you also have the legal stuff happening in the background?

Vince Zampella: I think you nailed it on the head with the [idea that] it's just Jason and I. We need to get the hiring going. [laughs] We need to get the word out there that the studio exists and we want people to send their resumes in.

G4: Was it important to you that even though you have the legal situation that you're working out, to publicly say that "we are doing this, we're doing it now, and we aren't fading into the background"?

Zampella: For us, it's about getting back to what we love to do. We're gamers, it's in our blood, we want to get back to it. We don't don't want to sit around idle. It's important for that reason.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Electronic Arts has butted heads with Activision in the past (there was some back-and-forth over the release of Brutal Legend, which Activision had the rights to after acquiring Vivendi and ended up passing on), but partnering with the now-fired leadership of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward is sure to cause some tension. Activision has already issued a statement in response to today's news about the formation of Respawn Entertainment, who are working with EA Partners.

Respawn Entertainment was founded by former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella.

"This agreement comes as no surprise to Activision given the myriad of improper activities detailed in the cross-complaint filed on Friday against Jason West and Vince Zampella," said Activision in a brief statement. "We look forward to continuing to work with Infinity Ward's deep bench of proven talent on exciting new projects."

Modern Warfare 3 was mentioned several times in the cross-complaint Activision filed late last week. Activision claims both West and Zampella impeded forward movement on Modern Warfare 3's development in the months after Modern Warfare 2 was released. It's unclear if work on Modern Warfare 3 continues in their absence and during these legal matters, given the possible ramifications.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Activision wants Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. After the massive success of Modern Warfare 2, it's not much of a surprise that Activision wanted Infinity Ward to develop Modern Warfare 3. The publisher mentioned Modern Warfare 3 by name several times in their countersuit against former Infinity Ward studio heads Vince Zampella and Jason West, filed today in Los Angeles.

The first time Activision mentioned Modern Warfare 3 in the suit was while listing the various practices Vampella and West allegedly engaged in, prompting Activision to launch the suit:

"[Zampella and West were] delaying pre-production of Modern Warfare 3 and attempting to use that delay as leverage in their [Zampella and West] negotiations with Activision"

Modern Warfare 3 comes up again several other times throughout the 23-page filing:

"Among other things, they delayed pre-production of Modern Warfare 3 and attempted to improperly leverage their rights under the MOU [memorandum of understanding] to obtain further advantage for themselves and concessions from Activision."

"As a direct and proximate result of this breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, Activision has been forced to commit additional resources to Modern Warfare 3, institute litigation to seek a declaration of rights, and incur costs and attorneys' fees, and will incur additional expenses in connection with securing the benefits of the MOU."

It's unclear what Activision means by "commit additional resources to Modern Warfare 3," whether the publisher's referencing the legal involvement, replacing the studio heads with temporary leadership from within Activision (which happened after creating the Call of Duty business unit), pulling in developers from other teams (Treyarch is the other central Call of Duty developer) or something else entirely.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Activision: Modern Warfare 2 Could Be Biggest

What's next for Jason West and Vince Zampella, the former heads of Infinity Ward? We may have the answer soon. The duo's lawyer released a statement to the LA Times that promises an "announcement very soon" that directly addresses the "creative future" of both developers.

The statement pushes back at Activision's lawsuit and paints Zampella and West in a positive light during the now-past negotiating phase with their former publisher.

"Activision itself proposed spinning off Infinity Ward when, last year, it sought to renegotiate Jason and Vince's contract," reads the statement, "and induce them to forego developing a new game in favor of doing another Modern Warfare sequel. Jason and Vince had hired the Creative Artists Agency to advise them in their negotiations with Activision, and not to breach their contract."

Activision alleges West and Zampella were conversing with the company's "closest competitor," widely believed to be Electronic Arts. Whether the upcoming announcement is connected to EA is anybody's guess, but it wouldn't be the first time Activision and EA went head-to-head. Remember Brutal Legend?

Source: LA Times

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Activision is not taking kindly to the legal accusations from the former heads of Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward. The LA Times acquired the Activision counterargument, filed this morning, and it shows a publisher fully prepared to take on both Vince Zampella and Jason West.

The suit, which says Activision will withhold future royalty payments the duo are seeking, claims Vince and Zampella both "morphed from valued, responsible executives into insubordinate and self-serving schemers who attempted to hijack Activision's assets for their own personal gain."

Electronic Arts came up in a memo acquired by G4 when the news first broke. Activision suspected West and Zameplla were in discussions with the major Activision competitor, and while Activision doesn't call out EA by name in the suit, they allude to the supposed discussions.

Activision alleges the two went "on a secret trip by private jet to Northern California, arranged by their Hollywood agent [West and Zampella are now represented by the powerful Creative Arts Agency], to meet with the most senior executives of Activision's closest competitor."

Clearly, Activision isn't about to pay the demands of their former developer royalty without a fight. How these legal filings interfere with West and Zampella forming a new studio are unknown.

Source: LA Times

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