Infinity Whoooooa

This week has revealed some of the scariest news I’ve ever heard. This whole thing with Infinity Ward is freaking me out like nothing ever has. And as the week goes on, more details are slowly leaking out that make the whole ordeal even more insane. Let’s start from the beginning.

On Tuesday, reports started leaking out that hired goons showed up at Infinity Ward to forcibly remove the two heads of the studio from the premises. As the day went on, it became clear that the two heads, Vince Zampella and Jason West, had been fired by Activision for “insubordination” and “breach of contract”. Kind of strange that the heads of the studio that made the two best-selling games of all time were fired, but okay, fine.

Of course, the next day reports are out that Zampella and West are suing Activision , also for “breach of contract” and some other claims. Wholly expected, in my eyes, after their sudden departure. But here’s where it gets good.

West and Zampella’s lawyers released a statement, with these details:

Activision conducted the investigation in a manner to maximize the inconvenience and anxiety it would cause West and Zampella. On little notice, Activision insisted on conducting interviews over the President’s Day holiday weekend; West and Zampella were interrogated for over six hours in a windowless conference room; Activision investigators brought other Infinity Ward employees to tears in their questioning and accusations and threatened West and Zampella with “insubordination” if they attempted to console them; Activision’s outside counsel demanded that West and Zampella surrender their personal computers, phones, and communication devices to Activison for review by Activision’s outside counsel and, when West and Zampella asserted their legally protected privacy rights, Activisions counsel said that doing so constituted further acts of insubordination.

(Blockquote shamelessly stolen from Scott Jennings, via Broken Toys. Apologies.)

Yes, Activision supposedly submitted West and Zampella to intense interrogation for 6 hours, berated the rest of the staff, and repeatedly threatened them with “insubordination”. Now, I’m not one who is going to judge anyone before the entire truth comes out, but I highly doubt that this quote is completely false. Given how close everyone is in this industry, the truth is going to come out eventually, and my guess is that it’ll be sooner rather than later. Everyone knows people at IW, so I’m going to patiently wait and see what comes of this. The story is just getting started.

I’m actually an Activision shareholder. I bought into them when they acquired Blizzard, mostly as a safe investment since I highly doubted Blizzard was going anywhere anytime soon. But when this story broke, I immediately called my dad (we discuss financial stuff all the time) and talked about the implications of this. Regardless of whether I’m taking a loss or not (which I would), I’m not sure I can buy int0 a company that treats their studios, especially their most successful ones, as disposable. I’ve voiced my displeasure at Infinity Ward before, but as a part of “the industry”, you can’t help but be angry at the treatment of the employees. But again, let’s wait to see where the truth leads is. Can’t wait to hear where this story goes, though. I’m on pins and needles.

Oh, and lastly, I was hearing rumors via Twitter (probably the most unreliable source there is) that these two were shopping IW to EA. Does anyone know anything about that? I don’t want to perpetrate this rumor, but I am very curious if that’s the next chapter of this story to be revealed.

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