Infinity Ward Departures
Or, "Wow, You're Finally Posting Something!"
Yeah, I know. Long time, no post. And it probably isn't the usual post you have come to know and forget about on my site.
As some of you may or may not know, something interesting has been happening for the past couple of months in the game development world. A company called Infinity Ward (they put out a little game called Modern Warfare 2, you might have heard about it,) has become involved in a serious clash with their publisher Activision. Instead of me rehashing the details about this here, you are better off at popping over to Kotaku's #callofdutylegalwarfare section and reading about the recent troubled history between the two parties.
You might ask, "why are you posting about this?" and, "why the unexpected post?" Well it started off with a little page I put up on my site. Namely, who remains at Infinity Ward?
What this page has is a list inspired by a Youtube video posted by PC Gamer UK that shows the credits of Modern Warfare 2 with names of the people who left Infinity Ward scratched off since the trouble with Activision was brought to light.
The reason for me creating the page was because many people on various video game forums wanted to see an updated end credits with the up to date names crossed off. Since the video wasn't updated for almost two weeks and a lot more names could be added to it, I figured I would recreate it in text format and post a link on Kotaku's comment section for fun. Little did I know how many people would actually see this list and relink it on many other sites and forums. Now, with the help of some anonymous tipsters, I am helping others keep informed about how quickly Infinity Ward is losing people, mostly due to what appears to be Activision's treatment of the studio. Believe me, looking at the traffic logs, there are a lot of you out there who are interested.
Now you might be wondering why I am interested in this whole affair. There are a few reasons.
1. I like video games. Plain and simple.
2. I find this whole thing just fascinating from a business perspective. If even half of what I've read about the way Activision has treated Infinity Ward is true, then it has to be some of the worst management/executive decisions ever.
3. I admit, I enjoy this schadenfreude at Activision's expense. They are a business who likes to make money. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, they should be applauded for that by doing right by their investors. But the way they go about making money is by beating franchises to death with a million and a half sequels, running them into the ground. It's happened with the Tony Hawk series, the Guitar Hero series, and it looks to be well on it's way to doing the same with the Modern Warfare and Call of Duty series. I think that if someone made me a few billion dollars, I would let them do whatever they want to keep them happy. They might come out with another new franchise that will blow people away. Then you have two franchises under them that you can make money from, without fatiguing the market with an over-saturated product. This sort of leads me to my 4th point...
4. I'm a techie and I hate to see other techies run over and pigeon holed into something they don't really want to do. Activision sees dollar bills at the expense of developers who might be a little tired of retreading the same game with updated graphics and scant few improvements. Frustrated developers rarely make a great product. Infinity Ward probably wanted to make something new and not another sequel. Creative people just don't work well nor are they happy in those types of situations. It's that creative juice that made them great developers. Activision's spin doctors claim they allow their studios creative freedom. But is it really creative freedom if they are still shoehorned within the same old franchise? It's about as creatively free as telling a furniture maker who wants to make a table after years of making chairs that they have to continue making chairs, but they can paint the chairs whatever color they want. This analogy might not be correct, but that to me is how I think Activision sees creative freedom.
So that's it, in case any of you were wondering. If you have any tips about future Infinity Ward departures, send them to me with any supporting links or evidence if possible, and I will update the list for as long as this is going on.