Trouble at the Top: Infinity Ward Layoffs

Interesting times over at Infinity Ward, eh?

For those of you not glued desperately to an intronet all day long, let me fill you in.  Two of the top hombres at IW, president Jason West and studio boss Vince Zampella (short for Vincent I assume, but as a responsible paraphraser, I take no chances) have been shown the door by Activision generalissimo and all-purpose bogeyman Bobby Kotick, apparently for “insubordination”. Better and more reputable version of the story from our Go-To Guys here.

Strange how Actvision have usurped EA as the big bad wolf of the games industry. A few years back, EA were terrible monsters relentlessly forcing gamers to buy copy after copy of FIFA (it’s a football game, apparently). Now though, EA find themselves the plucky underdog boldly championing poor mistreated proles like me and you, while Activision’s Dark Lord terrorises various news sources with words like “monetize” and phrases about the annual exploitation of intellectual property.* What’s more, ask me about CODMODWAR2’s developers twenty four hours ago and I’d have nothing but venom for them. Turns out we’re now on the same side. Isn’t life funny, eh?

So what does this mean for CODMODWAR? Treyarch take the reins, I assume, and make something even less inspiring than their predecessors. Which, in all honesty, will make very little difference. Gamers will probably buy the next in the series irrespective of developer, as brand recognition is a powerful thing. Did the change of developer do any harm for the Guitar Hero franchise? Did it bums. That’s assuming the developer changes – this is all happening at the top, after all (although fearsome muscle was deployed to the IW offices today to keep those dangerous developers in line, so who knows what’s going on over there).

Whatever happens, casually discarding a pair of gentlemen who played a major role in gift wrapping a vast fortune in greasy cash seems a peculiar decision. Maybe Activision feel confident that the brand is strong enough to sell hugely no matter what – Kotick has been refreshingly up front about not caring about the quality of the games his company produces. It must be a worrying time to be a games designer.

Interesting story, and bound to get interesting-er as time wanders on.


*Whenever you hear the words “intellectual property”, you know you are in dark and treacherous waters. Who uses those words? Money men, that’s who. As human beings who confine their vicious heartless pillaging and slaughtering to virtual worlds, we quite rightly wish humiliating medical conditions upon these vile creatures.

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