On the Ball: To Infinity Ward and Beyond

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On the Ball: To Infinity Ward and Beyond

Jordan Deam offers more idle speculation on the outcome of Activision's latest PR disaster.

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I'd agree with the sentiment of wanting them to do something new, Modern warfare has gotten old already, and it seemed so fresh only 2 years ago. The more they push in unexpected ways, the more interesting the results we'll see. Probably.

I would hope for the latter of those two bits of speculation, myself, if it didn't usually always end in bullshit games being pushed on the shelf and eventually leaving everyone jobless.

I'm really, honestly sick of all the speculation going around about what happened. First of all, it's hilarious that everyone automatically starts blaming Activision. If there was some sort of breach of contract, how is that the fault of Activision? The IW guys knew what they were agreeing to when they signed the damn thing, so what do you expect?

Yeah, I know, Activision has had some bad press lately. Kotick doesn't seem like the brightest guy (at least in terms of public speaking), but I wouldn't by any means say he's going to single handedly destroy the franchises that we've grown to love, much less immediately point the finger without any facts.

Outright Villainy:
I'd agree with the sentiment of wanting them to do something new, Modern warfare has gotten old already, and it seemed so fresh only 2 years ago. The more they push in unexpected ways, the more interesting the results we'll see. Probably.

ONly if they push the right way...if they do it the wrong way could rub alot of people up badly...

From what I have seen, all from here on escapist, untill it can be proven that activision was withholding royalities (seems really odd thing to do) then it seems to be IW fault. I suspect the two heads were trying to shop around, or to jump ship with some tech to start a new company.

So you're saying that IW might become the new Free Radical Design? I'd enjoy that. Although CoD4MW is the only CoD game I liked, and I doubt CoD5.5MW2 is the second coming its sales seem to imply.

I miss Free Radical Design now.

Totally not a PR stunt planned for the day of the release of their biggest perceived threat, nooo

only mention of said competitor on this site was an add surrounding ZP this week.
...
any publicity is good publicity, this seems to be engineered to make one think IW could split off and become something for its CORE fans again.
remember, you called it IWnet, not activisionnet.
not the hordes whom joined on with easymode guns in cod4.

I liked your opening. One of my biggest problems with video game journalism is that the journalists really are just translators and critics for publisher/developer PR teams. And then to make up for it, most will make sure to report whenever Micheal Atkinson farts.

Excellent article. Honestly, your column is the only one I've been able to read consistently. Something about your writing style I enjoy.

After Activision proudly trumpeting "three more Call of Duties" in a two year time span, I almost hope that the next ones suck terribly.

Almost.

I'm sure I'll end up buying them somehow.

You know, maybe I don't understand the industry, but I dont quite understand how the director of a DEVELOPMENT studio can be fired by a company that essentially hires them to Make a Game? Thats like me walking into Pizza Hut and firing the guy behind the counter and the Pizza Hut corporation just looks the other way.

I thought these "studios" were independent, but from the sound of it, it sounds like Sony could walk in one day and fire Hideo Kojima and then force Mistwalker studios to continue to make metal gear games anyway? Or for Microsoft to walk into Double Fine and have Tim Schaffer escorted off the premises. WTF?

If thats how it works, there is a serious problem with the gaming industry as a business model.

HyenaThePirate:
You know, maybe I don't understand the industry, but I dont quite understand how the director of a DEVELOPMENT studio can be fired by a company that essentially hires them to Make a Game? Thats like me walking into Pizza Hut and firing the guy behind the counter and the Pizza Hut corporation just looks the other way.

I thought these "studios" were independent, but from the sound of it, it sounds like Sony could walk in one day and fire Hideo Kojima and then force Mistwalker studios to continue to make metal gear games anyway? Or for Microsoft to walk into Double Fine and have Tim Schaffer escorted off the premises. WTF?

If thats how it works, there is a serious problem with the gaming industry as a business model.

I'm fairly sure that Activision at least partly owns Infinity Ward. That's the difference.

MR T3D:
[...]only mention of said competitor on this site was an add surrounding ZP this week.[...]

You, apparently do not watch any videos, other than ZeroPunctuation, on The Escapist. =P
That same advertisement accompanies every video on the site these days - even old ones (I checked).

And I think Electronic Arts paid for that advertising space, and, at least for me, it's working quite well. . . it's an ingenious placement!

John Funk:

HyenaThePirate:
You know, maybe I don't understand the industry, but I dont quite understand how the director of a DEVELOPMENT studio can be fired by a company that essentially hires them to Make a Game? Thats like me walking into Pizza Hut and firing the guy behind the counter and the Pizza Hut corporation just looks the other way.

I thought these "studios" were independent, but from the sound of it, it sounds like Sony could walk in one day and fire Hideo Kojima and then force Mistwalker studios to continue to make metal gear games anyway? Or for Microsoft to walk into Double Fine and have Tim Schaffer escorted off the premises. WTF?

If thats how it works, there is a serious problem with the gaming industry as a business model.

I'm fairly sure that Activision at least partly owns Infinity Ward. That's the difference.

Haha, only partly.

Activision has published everything Infinity Ward has ever coded since the very first Call of Duty. Hell, Infinity Ward might as well have been another (rather profitable) branch of the Activision tree.
Please refer to Slaughterhouse-Five for a lovely money tree metaphor

Steindorh:

MR T3D:
[...]only mention of said competitor on this site was an add surrounding ZP this week.[...]

You, apparently do not watch any videos, other than ZeroPunctuation, on The Escapist. =P
That same advertisement accompanies every video on the site these days - even old ones (I checked).

And I think Electronic Arts paid for that advertising space, and, at least for me, it's working quite well. . . it's an ingenious placement!


watched unskippable & moviebob!

but nothing tuesday or today, guess that's when it was implemented.
TBH i'm a BF fan, and i wasn't too fond of that add.

but then, i see so few ads anyway any add is annoying.

Hell I just wanna see some sort of ending to the story they started and then let them do whatever they want. I am all for to see what else these guys can come up with.

That's actually one of the best written articles I've seen on here.

I hope they take a new direction. I'm sure all sorts of great ideas came up during the making of MW2.

I agree with the journalism for games being a pseudo-dictatorship of information, and I also look forward to new ideas, I played every CoD for PC and I enjoyed all of them, but I've been longing for something new for a while now, CoD 4 was great, W@W was okay, and MW2 could be better, though I give them credit for some tweaks.
As CoD was born from MoHAA, I want something to be born from what was CoD and to be awesome and refreshing. But if in the end, they make another CoD, I might play like any other one, it's not hard to make me happy.

Frankly I wasn't floored in any way,shape, or form by MW2. It just came off as a really shiny but otherwise hollow FPS that has little more on old FPS's other than previously mentioned visuals.

Which might be why in my mind if these people broke away from their parent company they'd just go off to make another run of the mill shiny game. Except without the record breaking marketing I don't think they'll sell anywhere near as well.

Just my thoughts. Not say they make bad games but they do nothing better than their predecessors other than marketing.

My guess is that West and Zampalla said some nasty things about Bobby "dickface" Kotick, who flew off the handle and fired them. That or he axed their contracts right before they should be payed their royalties to gain another few million dollars. What a fuck, he should be in jail.

AC10:
My guess is that West and Zampalla said some nasty things about Bobby "dickface" Kotick, who flew off the handle and fired them. That or he axed their contracts right before they should be payed their royalties to gain another few million dollars. What a fuck, he should be in jail.

Holy F&%k jump to conclusions much?

bismarck55:

AC10:
My guess is that West and Zampalla said some nasty things about Bobby "dickface" Kotick, who flew off the handle and fired them. That or he axed their contracts right before they should be payed their royalties to gain another few million dollars. What a fuck, he should be in jail.

Holy F&%k jump to conclusions much?

Not really.
http://kotaku.com/5485295/infinity-ward-founders-suing-activision-over-unpaid-royalties

That's the reason West and Zampalla are suing Activision.

I didn't mind MW2 but when you said

'Think back to the difference between Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Modern Warfare and try to imagine where the developers could take us next if they were truly passionate about their direction.'

I may have gone D: if they were truly free to do whatever they wanted they could create a monster... of truly epic proportions!

I find it hard to believe that either party is really the "bad guy" in this scenario. Why would IW break away from Activision if not for a good reason (e.g. creative strangulation, financial issues)? Why would Activision get rid of, or mess around with, some of the individuals responsible for one of the best-selling games of all time?

I hope IW breaks free, though. I'm not a fan of developers milking a concept to death, and for them to be forced into that cycle depresses me. There's no arguing the talent of these guys. I look forward to seeing what they can do.

Hard to tell who is the bad guy here (if there even is one).

Could turn into an oppertunity for the IW guys to prove that they can offer something interesting. I mean at the end of the day CoD4 and MW2 were just very good FPS offerings. Even taking that into account, on a creative front, MW2 was hardly groundbreaking. I woul like to see soething that earns IW the amount of hype they get.

I suggested in the original post when it was rumors about the guards that it was possible that IW would want out to work with other companies, so again, I totally called it.

But I don't see IW as the problem, mostly because they made 2 great games that reinvented realistic shooters. CoD4 had a fantastic story mode that I rate as one of the best in gaming stories ever. MW2, alternitivly, has a story that's not up to snuff with the first, but compared to the multi-player I played in CoD4, it's largely improved in my mind. So they've got a game with a strong story, and then the next with strong multi-player (though a few more maps or maybe some throwbacks in DLC or updates would be nice)

IW seems to be made up of (or at least was before Activision stepped in and might screw it up) some very creative and intellegent people, who I'm sure don't want to be forever known as a one hit wonder. Plus, with 2 games as strong as those, they might want to break the cycle of sequels and make something new. Which I don't think is a bad idea. I just think that Activision wants to keep their pot of gold full and shoot anyone whose seen the end of the rainbow, and IW definatly has not only seen it but joined them there.

Despite Activision's assurances that the fiasco "does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the company," you don't shitcan the director of a few of the finest first-person shooters of this console generation and expect the rest of his team to carry on as if nothing happened.

Don't forget that not only did they "shitcan" the studio bosses, but Activision put those in charge:

The Call of Duty business unit will be led by Philip Earl, who currently runs Activision Publishing's Asia Pacific region and previously served in senior executive positions with Procter & Gamble and Nestle. Activision Publishing veterans Steve Pearce, chief technology officer and Steve Ackrich, head of production, will lead Infinity Ward on an interim basis. Jason West and Vince Zampella are no longer with Infinity Ward.

Procter & Gamble and Nestle? Seriously? xD

It would seem they are suing Activision for royalties and the rights to use the Modern Warfare brand so they obviously still want to work on MW3, but then I guess if you have a shot at owning the most lucrative intellectual property of today it would be mad not to take it.

I totally agree here, and I liked both Call of Duty games. Something new and fresh is always welcome, and unfortunately these developers to get caught just making sequels of successful titles, which is good for business, but bad for art...

Jordan Deam:
To Infinity Ward and Beyond

Jordan Deam offers more idle speculation on the outcome of Activision's latest PR disaster.

Read Full Article

First, a history lesson:

Here's my issue. Activision has done a great job of running their products into the ground. If Red Octane was any example, then you can see that quite literally, they're the new Acclaim. It's shady what they're doing and outright disgusting for morale. It took a while, but you don't hear about EA because Activision is taking the cake.

It's a good thing that Blizzard is mainly autonomous. If not we would have seen WoW 2 - 5 out next year.

This is why we let both valve and blizzard go on with their bad selves and release it "when its done."

John Funk:

HyenaThePirate:
You know, maybe I don't understand the industry, but I dont quite understand how the director of a DEVELOPMENT studio can be fired by a company that essentially hires them to Make a Game? Thats like me walking into Pizza Hut and firing the guy behind the counter and the Pizza Hut corporation just looks the other way.

I thought these "studios" were independent, but from the sound of it, it sounds like Sony could walk in one day and fire Hideo Kojima and then force Mistwalker studios to continue to make metal gear games anyway? Or for Microsoft to walk into Double Fine and have Tim Schaffer escorted off the premises. WTF?

If thats how it works, there is a serious problem with the gaming industry as a business model.

I'm fairly sure that Activision at least partly owns Infinity Ward. That's the difference.

I still don't get it...
This is like Aerosmith signing a deal with Sony or summat like that, and then Sony Music gets mad and fires Steven Tyler. How the hell can you expect anything good out of a scenario like that, you just gutted any chance of the new album (er in this case Video games) they were working on to:

a.) be any good
B.) have any loyal fan support, which is part of the reason MW2 had such prestigious praise to begin with.

I don't care anyways, I didn't like the direction infinity ward was goin with call of duty.

My initial reaction when all this news was popping up on my Twitter feed was "Good, maybe they'll move their talents to a different genre". I'd love to see what else they can do aside from shooters. I mean, I dug CoD2, but I LOVED MW1 because of a lot of the narrative elements. The guys have talent and an idea as to what the games medium offers as an experience, now I'd like to see them move that to something new.

I will no longer be buying "Call of Duty" games, or any game made from Activision. However, I will buy "Modern Warfare." Activision needs to be killed.

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