Infinity Ward 'is dead', insider claims

Infinity Ward 'is dead', insider claims
Michael French

By Michael French

April 16th 2010 at 9:46PM

The team that built Activision's biggest hit will crumble, source says

Could things get any worse for Activision's Infinity Ward?

Even after a string of walk outs, the defection of its senior staff to EA, and a long-running legal spat it seems the answers is yes.

[TIMELINE - INFINITY-GATE]

According to Kotaku, an insider of the studio says the studio is effectively 'dead' now that it has lost most of its team leads, and that owner Activision won't be able to stop the at least spiritual demise of the studio.

Kotaku quotes the unnamed and unverified source as saying: "IW as you know it is dead [...] and it will continue to crumble. There are a lot more veterans who are definitely going to leave."

Activision ousted founders Jason West and Vince Zampella at the start of March, accusing them of insubordination.

Days later, they fired back legally, demanding over $30m in unpaid royalties.

Activsion last week issued its own countersuit, alleging many things including the delay of Modern Warfare 3.

But on Monday West and Zampella announced they had signed with EA to form new studio Respawn Entertainment.

Throughout the whole sorry ordeal Activision has faced a string of high-profile resignations amongst the studio's lead art and design teams.

It's a far cry from the situation a few months ago - the studio's Modern Warfare 2 is the best selling game of the decade, making Activision's original buy of the studio in 2003 for $5m look like a bargain.

Now, however, Activision execs have been left speechless by the latest turn of events, according to Kotaku's source.

"They're scared shitless," the source said.

"They never saw this coming. They can't believe what's going on. At first they gave us some bullshit about moving up payments of all the money they owe us to sooner increments. That was when [designer] Todd [Alderman] and [engineer] Frank [Gigliotti] left. But with the announcement of Respawn and all the people leaving, they just got there heads in their hands."

It's doubtful Activision will just shut the studio, which still houses around 80 staff, but could it rebrand the team - and how will the appointment of new leads, or promotions amongst the current team, change the spirit of Infinity Ward?

Time may tell - but according to Kotaku's source, things are looking bleak.