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Back in April, I received a tip from someone who claimed to have inside information about what happened on the day that Bobby Kotick came down to Infinity Ward’s offices to “diffuse” the situation between Activision and its golden developer, Infinity Ward.

According to the source, one Mr. CODwhistleblower, it turns out that Kotick was on a quest to track down and destroy anyone who he felt might be disloyal to the company. Whistleblower had escaped the Infinity Ward office through sheer courage, strength of will, and an unwitting Hispanic employee who pushed him to safety on a cleaning cart.

I suspected that he’d been killed, or that he moved to Canada – the former being the lesser of two evils, according to my dad. Well, it turns out CODwhistlebower wasn’t dead at all; he sent me another email detailing a deep conspiracy surrounding the Bungie /Activision publishing deal.

I am not sure that I buy it, but if I had a second, I would probably follow up just for shits and giggles. But I don’t have a second. You see, since I met a woman on Xbox Live, I haven’t had much time to do anything else.

Her name’s Jessica and she is amazing. She’s 31, has a degree in English and, if her XBL avatar is anything to go by, she’s smoking hot.

I know what you’re thinking: Jessica is actually a dude. I was a little hesitant at first , but I’ve heard her voice and I’m convinced that there aren’t many prepubescent teenagers with a college level education and an interest in Vishal-Shekhar.

Even more surprising than meeting a well-adjusted human being on XBL, Crackdown is actually pretty fun. Jess and I have been playing it every day over the past week and it doesn’t seem like we’re going to be done with the game anytime soon; not bad for $15 out of the used bin.

Jessica works for her parents. Sometimes she sneaks away in the middle of the day to collect power-up orbs and climb around the city and kick bad guys into orbit. Right now, I am waiting for her to get back from running errands, which should be any minute now. So I’ll copy/paste CODwhistleblower’s email and go shave. Since I met Jessica, I haven’t had much time for personal hygiene. My dad started calling me Omar Bin Laden – I don’t know who that is, but Dad swears he’s related to the current president.

Dear Marion,

Thanks for publishing my story about Activision’s horrific raid on Infinity Ward last month. Because of that article, I have gained the support of several new followers on twitter. There is no doubt in my mind that if they were to assassinate me now, the uproar from my supporters would be enough to bring Activision to its knees.

And because of my sudden internet celebrity as an anti-Activision activist, I thought I might provide your readers with a unique perspective on something that concerns me: the publishing deal between Activision and Bungie. If that’s something you think your readers are interested in send me an email and I’ll send you this manifesto that I’ve been working on.

Thanks again Marion,

CODwhistleblower.

I wrote back to him, asking him to write in as much detail as he could – I am paid by the word. So while Jessica and I were using cars as a ball in a demented game of soccer, this column wrote itself – or, rather, was written by some nut-job with no journalistic credentials and only a tenuous grasp on reality.

Mr. Marion Cox,

Thanks for your interest in my thoughts on the Activision/Bungie merger. Actually, most of our studio knew about the possibility of Activision’s deal with Bungie back in August of last year. Kotick had dropped by to do his weekly firings and made a speech saying how that when Bungie was on board he would replace the “pathetic” Modern Warfare development team with programmers that had worked on Halo 3.

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At that time, I don’t know if any of us took him that seriously. It was hard to believe that Microsoft was losing its grip on their golden goose. Sure, it was a possibility, but so were the rumors that they put salt-peter in the coffee to keep the programmers from getting erections and thus keeping their minds focused on their work. Most of us believed that the erectile dysfunction was more about the stress of working in a building where men with automatic rifles and dogs roamed the hallways, enforcing workplace efficiency.

But after the release of Modern Warfare 2, an internal memo, branded on the back of an underperforming web designer, explained that, if we wanted to be part of the next Modern Warfare project, we had to step up our game. The Bungie deal was looking more likely.

One night, right before three devs were executed for treason, we had a meeting to discuss the future of the Modern Warfare IP. Kotick’s plans for the Halo 3 developers were, in a word, nefarious.

First, the Kotick wants to break up the monopoly on Bungie games on consoles. The deal means that for the first time in 10 years there will be Bungie games on something besides the Xbox. Why is that bad, you ask? To me, the biggest problem is that it brings Bungie to the PS3.

Imagine all the diehard Sony fanboys who have spent the last five years collecting bile to spit against Microsoft’s biggest IP. If Kotick has his way, he will drive a spike deep into the PS3 community. Fanboys will argue amongst themselves on whether buying a Playstation title by the developer they spent so much time lambasting is “selling out.” Confused and angry many PS3 fans will simply find it easier to slash their wrist than deal with the fact that their greatest enemy now shares the same shelf as Metal Gear Solid.

But, for me, though the biggest tragedy is that 2011 is going to be dominated by Activision. There will most certainly be a new Modern Warfare (as created by the Bungie team), Starcraft II, Cataclysm, and maybe even Diablo III. We already know that they charge $60 for games, and $20 for recycled map packs. I wouldn’t be surprised if your next Call of Duty is broken into three separately sold games and costs $15 a month in subscription fees.

As loathe as I am to make predictions, I promise you that in the next three years we’ll see Activision storm Bungie and seize their intellectual property, execute programmers and harvest organs from the healthiest of interns to sell them on the Chinese black market. With Bungie’s will broken, there is nothing stopping Kotick from taking over the entire game industry and jacking up the prices so that only the social elite can afford to buy games.

“What can I do to fight back against Bobby Kotick?” your readers might ask. You can start standing up for your rights as a gamer by canceling your WoW subscription, stop sending your friends Starcraft II beta invites, play Rock Band instead of Guitar Hero and sign my petition to boycott all Activision products.

If we don’t take a stand now, who knows what will happen. With no competition between publishers, gaming could simply become a pastime of the bourgeois. We gamers would have to take up medieval hobbies (like reading) and, worse than all of that, Roger Ebert would be right about games never being art.

Viva la resisitance!

CODwhistleblower.

I just read Whistleblower’s letter to Jessica over Xbox Live. She suggested that I come out to Cali, where the scariest things are the hipsters in American Apparel hoodies and tight pants they bought in the Juniors section of JCPenney.

I think I’m in love.

Marion Cox is the only source of inebriated, hyper-editorialized game news you’ll ever need (or want). You can follow him on Twitter, or find him booking a flight to Los Angeles tonight. You’re on your own, Dad!

Question of the Day, May 8, 2010

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