Industry analyst Michael Pachter says the departure of Jason West and Vince Zampella from Infinity Ward could adversely affect the future success of the Call of Duty franchise, leading everyone on the planet who isn't Michael Pachter to say, "Well, duh."
It was big news last week when Infinity Ward CEO Vince Zampella and President and CTO Jason West left the company under less-than-ideal circumstances. Accusations of wrongdoing flew back and forth between the Modern Warfare studio and its owner, Activision, culminating in a lawsuit filed by West and Zampella alleging that the parent company conspired to fire the pair before it had to pay them their big, fat bonuses for Modern Warfare 2.
Activision was quick to point out that in spite of all the trouble, Infinity Ward would remain on the Call of Duty line, alongside Treyarch and the new kid on the block, Sledgehammer Games, which is developing yet another game in the franchise.
But industry analyst Michael Pachter said that simply putting the Infinity Ward name on future Call of Duty releases isn't enough to guarantee success and that the absence of the two senior executives could have a big, and negative, impact. "The contributions of West and Zampella are difficult to assess, but the pair has had incredible success with each version of the game created under their supervision," Pachter wrote in a new research note.
"The 'secret sauce' of their involvement is analogous to the direction of a movie; some directors work with certain types of material in a unique way, and repeatedly achieve commercial success with that material," he continued. "In the same way, we think that West and Zampella provide something unique to the creation of games at Infinity Ward, and I think it's likely that their contribution will be missed in future installments."
Activision announced last week that Infinity Ward is currently at work on the first of two DLC map packs for Modern Warfare 2 that are slated for release later this year.