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Decision to fire top Infinity Ward developers was easy, says Activision CEO

By: Muhammad Qasim Hassan

  |   December 19th, 2012   |  
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

Decision to take action against Vince Zampella and Jason West was pretty easy to make, claims the Activision boss.

Activision came down hard and heavy on Infinity Ward’s top developers, including the two executives namely Vince Zampella and Jason West, in 2010, firing them from the very studio that they created.

The swift action raised a number of questions and brought the publisher, who had snapped up the owner of Infinity Ward following the release of first Call of Duty game in 2003, under a lot of criticism.

It is naturally quite difficult for a company to make the decision of firing not one, but two high-profile developers and that too after they had just finished developing the $1 billion grossing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

The CEO of Activision Bobby Kotick, however, claims to have made the decision of sending Zampella and West home without breaking a sweat.

In a New York Times profile publisher earlier this week, the Activision boss opened up about Activision’s swift and severe action against the co-founders of Infinity Ward.

He explained that the company came to learn about the plans of the two executives to break the contracts that they signed while keeping the money that they had taken from Activision, and at the same time steal 40 of the company’s employees.

The plans to betray the very company that had come to their rescue when they were in  dire need of help came as a huge disappointment and thus compelled Kotick to take the necessary action against them, a move that he expects someone else in his place to have made as well without giving it a second thought.

“You find out two executives are planning to break their contracts, keep the money you gave them, and steal 40 employees. What do you do? You fire them,” Kotick said.

Activision had filed a case against West, Zampella and 40 other former Infinity Ward developers, though the parties reached a settlement outside of court earlier this year even before a trail could hear it. The details of the settlement have remained undisclosed, though one analysts suggested the figure to be somewhere in the tens of millions.

Fortunately for the fans of the Call of Duty franchise, the sacking of top Infinity Ward executives and developers had little to no impact on the first-person shooter, which continued to maintain its reputation as one of the best, if not the best, in the genre.

Despite all the critical and commercial acclaim, the Call of Duty franchise is unlikely to try its luck in Hollywood, as Kotick believes that poor film adaptations may end up taking its toll on the overall reputation of the brand.