Kotick: Infinity Ward founders may never be 'productive or successful' again, feelings are hurt

In an interview with EDGE, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick opened his heart and spoke about the debacle which led to the termination of Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West. According to Kotick, he felt "betrayed," and the duo were just like, so uncool about everything that he doesn't even want to be friends anymore.

"It shook my belief in two specific people, who were my friends," he said. "The frustrating thing about that is, the stuff that these guys did, I never would have expected them to do. We're a public company, we've got ethics obligations, and the things they did were... I would go to jail if I did them.

"You can't use the company and the company's assets for your own personal benefit, and you can't use the leverage that you might have for personal benefit - you're not allowed to do that! And so we didn't have any choice."

Kotick did not detail the "stuff" they did, but reports are that it was "all just like, you know," and "really, I mean, why would you even do that?"

Since the falling-out, a large portion of Infinity Ward has joined the duo at a new, EA-backed studio called Respawn Entertainment - Kotick was prepared for this. But will these allegedly dishonest, unethical, and practically criminal developers ever hit gold again, like they did with the Medal of Honor and CoD series? Tell 'em, Kotick:

"That's one of those really difficult decisions as the CEO of a company, where you step back and say, 'No good is going to come of this. They're going to leave and probably have a really hard time ever being productive or successful ever again, and we're going to lose some talented people, and there's nothing we can do about it.' And there wasn't."

Willing to bet on it?

[Source: CVG]

Sep 27, 2010


  • DanAmrich - October 6, 2010 1:04 a.m.

    @saugaprime I would agree with you but not in this case. Infinity Ward is not and never was a mom and pop shop. They sold the studio to Activision for $5 million. I don't know ANY mom and pop shop worth $5 million, let alone a dev that gets that kind of cash before they have delivered the game for the folks who bought them. The guys were well compensated for their work. It might be fun to play this as a David vs Goliath thing, but it's not necessarily accurate.
  • DanAmrich - October 6, 2010 1 a.m.

    "care to be more specific?" They were -- I don't think a lot of people read the actual legal claim that Activision filed, but it's full of some specific examples. Page 12 is a good read.
  • dyingisfunny - September 30, 2010 12:17 a.m.

    I have no idea who any of these people are, but that guy in the middle looks like he just smoked some pot...
  • papergoon - September 28, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    I just wanna punch that guy in the face and spit on him.
  • AGENTJORRRG - September 28, 2010 7:15 a.m.

    LAWL! Eat a knob, Kotick.
  • SAUGAPRIME - September 28, 2010 5:52 a.m.

    I know I spelled royalty wrong it's late. I just hate how corporations are destroying the mom and pop shops in this world, the developer. They created CoD that's there baby and they want to steel it away from them. And they will probably lose in court cuz there the little guy, and how can the little guy compete against a billion dollar company.
  • SAUGAPRIME - September 28, 2010 5:21 a.m.

    From what I understood back when this all started, there 10 year contract with Activision was up and they wanted to go somewhere else. Kotick found out about this down the grape vine, and he didn't want them to leave till they made modern warfare 3. So he was holding the rolalty money he owed them till they agreed to make modern warfare 3. Do you know how hard those two pushed to change the CoD franchise away from WW2. He Kotick didn't think there was money there in modern warfare games. Anyways so those 2 said forget it and took Kotick/Activision to supreme court to get the rights to modern warfare and the rolalty money he owes them for MW2 something like 40 mill, which will be decided in march 2011. I will never buy an Activision game again I don't care how good it is! Look Treyarch never got spider-man right and they will never get CoD right. Infinity ward created killstreaks never was in a game killstreaks till CoD4, and people loved it and Treyarch says they could do better by copying someone else's shit, they are using infinity wards engine To make black-ops. I want Treyarch to make something I never heard off before like Infinity ward did. That's what makes them so good, they came up with new things not redifining old things. Lets just say there was no bad blood and MW3 is coming out next year, who would give a shit about black-ops!
  • KaiokenKid - September 28, 2010 4:30 a.m.

    What a shmuck. I feel sorry for Dan, he has to play damage control for this clown.
  • JamesT - September 28, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    Can't this guy be charged for lying about people breaking the law?
  • shadowreaper72 - September 28, 2010 12:07 a.m.

    Yeah Kotick do you really expect us to believe anything that comes out of your corrupt mouth? Go fuck yourself.
  • nadrewod999 - September 27, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    Let's see, should I believe that the original founders of IW, most of whom left during this debacle, will soon be very successful again, and Kotick will be found guilty in the founder's lawsuit against Activision for wrongful termination (which only happened because IW wanted to work on something else before the release of MW2, but Activision tried to appease them by giving the two founders control over all CoD games set after WWII), or should I believe Kotick when he says that the founders did things that are so illegal, Kotick would go to jail if he did them? I choose Vince "Captain Price" Zampella and Jason "Soap" West over Bobby "General Shepherd" Kotick.
  • foxyexplosion - September 27, 2010 9:53 p.m.

    TRUCK KOTICK. The man has aliens up his bum and they are pulling his brain levers and making him evil. Hes all propped up on businessman d-baggery and he doesnt seem to understand that what we want from his company is humanity not xock-garbbling cut throat business decisions. maybe if we stopped being so cut throat and just worked on quality and individuality america would stop making spitty products that will assuredly break in a year. RrrrRRRrrrR capitalism...
  • SwampRock - September 27, 2010 9:22 p.m.

    Oh yeah, I'm sure the guys who made the series relevant to the masses will have a REAL tough time producing something better. Instead of recycling the same thing until the series is run into the ground.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - September 27, 2010 9:09 p.m.

    ...what a DICK.
  • CoryRX8 - September 27, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    @farsided I didn't even notice that sentence, thanks for pointing that out. The funny thing is that (in the US at least) a publically-traded corporation is pretty much legally required to do whatever it can do increase its stock price, so long as it's legal. Failing to do that can get it sued by its own shareholders. Ethics don't enter into it. Even if a corporation wants to do something philanthropic, they have to justify how the good PR will result in profits in the near term. Any corporation that claims that it cares about anything but money is lying, because it's legally not allowed to care. So "We're a public company, we've got ethics" is basically a contradiction in terms.
  • ColonelKc - September 27, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    @ninjadevbear I did, its just that i know what the two dev leaders did, but still....i hate kotick.
  • farsided - September 27, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    "We're a public company, we've got ethics..." I stopped right there. Ethics my ass you greedy piece of scum.
  • CoryRX8 - September 27, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    I find it funny that they "were his friends", when I'd bet that he'd probably seen West and Zampella all of twice outside of the Activision offices (if that many times). As for his statement that they may never be "productive or successful" again, well, they made Medal of Honor, a series that could do no wrong until they left EA. Then they turned around and made Call of Duty, which could do no wrong when they were calling the shots (not so much when Activision exploited its name recognition with the Treyarch games). So was it luck, or was it talent? I'm going to put my money on talent.
  • Felixthecat - September 27, 2010 7:50 p.m.

    I think Bobby is pretty cute in how he assumes everyone else besides him and his corrupt little company full of brainwashed peasants are shit at everything they do. Unless they work with Activision, of course.
  • And_ROOS - September 27, 2010 7:45 p.m.

    I heard Kotick even deleted them off his facebook...

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