For anyone that has been following the telenovela-like drama that has embroiled the makers of the Modern Warfare series of games, this news should come as no surprise: Many of the former members of Infinity Ward that have left the developer, have rejoined their former bosses at the newly minted game studio Respawn Entertainment.
Since the surprise firing of Infinity Ward President Jason West and CEO Vince Zampella, the news from Infinity Ward has turned stranger each week. Activision claimed that West and Zampella were looking to break their contracts and form a new company, while the pair claim they were caught unaware and fired to avoid the millions of dollars in royalties they were due. Lawsuits soon followed on both sides, and increasingly nastier public statements followed the lawsuits. Then came news of West and Zampella partnering with Activision’s chief rival EA, who promised the duo total control of the games they developed. Then the exodus from Infinity Ward began.
Since March 1, 13 employees have left Infinity Ward. Only one of the 13 announced where he would be going (senior animator Bruce Ferriz is joining Big Red Button Entertainment), but the speculation was rampant that Respawn would soon see an influx of staff. Whether it was an ironic case of Activision creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, or the culmination of its suspicions, will likely be a hot topic for the lawyers involved.
The website GamesIndutry.com is confirming that at least seven former Infinity Ward members have joined Respawn Entertainment, including the lead animators, engineer, and game designer. No word on where the other four members are going, nor if others will follow suit. Activision, which is likely busy interviewing to fill at least 13 new positions, has yet to comment.
Update: “five members” should read four. Corrected.