March 1st Activision let go IW heads Jason West and Vince Zampella claiming disloyalty and espionage among other reasons, for a refresher check out To Infinity Ward, Activision, and Beyond!, but the loss in human resources doesn't stop there. Several more key IW members are following suit. Modern Warfare 2 lead designers Steve Fukuda and Zied Reike along with artist Chris Cherubini, and programmer Rayme Vinsion have taken their leave. Activision is also threatening to withhold bonuses offered to existing members of IW that leave before the lawsuits are settled but that doesn't seem to be carrying much weight because with these resignations the top 10% of IW is gone leaving the future of the development company uncertain. The ex-IW members have said little about their future plans but West and Zampella have created a new development studio called Respawn Entertainment who has decided to partner with, you guessed it, EA. The deal made with EA is a little sweeter for West and Zampella as they will have full ownership of intellectual property and exclusive rights to publish and distribute worldwide. In a recent statement Zampella said,
Respawn Entertainment marks a fresh start for Jason and me. For the past decade we led a great development team and poured our hearts into creating an epic game franchise. We're very proud of what we built-and proud that so many millions of fans enjoyed those games. Today we hope to do it all over again-open a new studio, hire a great team, and create brand new games with a new partner, EA.
Activision released a statement saying that they plan on continuing Modern Warfare with the leftover IW staff or anyone else they choose to work on it.
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. We look forward to continuing to work with Infinity Ward's deep bench of proven talent on exciting new projects.
I wish Activision luck in making future Modern Warfare games with the quality that the fans dedicated to the franchise have come to expect but even if they manage to it will never regain its former glory due to the treatment IW has received. Many newcomers and veterans of the franchise have probably already been chased away.
Hit the break to see who's left Infinity Ward so far.