Grabbing of rights caused Underground's downfall, says rumourInfinity Ward, the studio that created the popular Call of Duty franchise, is to once again become the series’ exclusive developer once the Treyarch-developed Call of Duty 5 is released, claims Next Gen.
According to a source, Infinity Ward has renegotiated its contract with publisher and owner Activision to ensure that no other Activision studio is able to develop any Call of Duty branded game.
Whilst the studio handled the PC debut and multi-format sequel, as well as massive global hit Call of Duty 4, fellow Activision studio Treyarch took the helm for the third installment so that the brand could become a yearly franchise for the publisher. Since then the plan has been for the two studios to alternate development responsibilities – with Treyarch currently working on the upcoming Call of Duty 5.
Next Gen also claims that the move is connected with the closure of fellow Activision studio Underground. While it was known that the developer had largely finished a PS3 port of Quake Wars: Enemy Territory, Next Gen's source claims that the team was also working on an action-adventure spin-off Call of Duty game that fell victim to the new contract renegotiation.
[UPDATE: Activision has contacted sister magazine MCV to deny the rumours, and has stated that an official statement is to come shortly.]