Booby Kotick, the chief executive officer of publisher Activision Blizzard, stands by his own decision to fire Jason West and Vince Zampella, the leaders of developer Infinity Ward, in 2010, after a dispute linked to the terms of their contract and the future of the Call of Duty franchise.Gamespot quotes the executive as saying that, “You find out two executives are planning to break their contracts, keep the money you gave them and steal 40 employees. What do you do? You fire them.”
After Zampella and West had been fired, they launched a lawsuit against Activision, claiming that they were due more money linked to bonuses they were set to receive after the successful launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
The company countersued, claiming that the pair was ready to abandon their current project and work with rival Electronic Arts and seeking damages of its own.
The three-way suits were settled in May this year and it is unclear whether Activision has paid any damages to the fired developers.
Despite the fact that the leaders of Infinity Ward were fired and a number of leading developers chose to follow them to their new studio, the Call of Duty series has continued to perform well and recently, Modern Warfare 3 has set new sales records for Activision.
This year’s installment, Black Ops 2, was created by Treyarch and it is also on track to be the biggest video game launch of 2012.
Zampella and West are currently working at Respawn Studios and they have a long-term publishing deal with Electronic Arts.
They are set to reveal their first project in 2013, presumably a first-person shooter that will arrive for the next generation of home consoles.
Activision has already confirmed that a new Call of Duty game from Infinity Ward will be launched next year.