As the Infinity Ward-Activision saga dragged on this week, an unexpected new player joined the mix in the form of Bungie. The Halo developer isn't directly related to the publisher's suddenly litigious relationship with the creators of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but it became a tangent to the story yesterday when it announced an exclusive 10-year deal with Activision for its next original franchise.
According to an updated Los Angeles Times report, terms of the Bungie deal are similar to what Infinity Ward cofounders Jason West and Vince Zampella had been seeking from Activision before the publisher opted to fire them, triggering a flurry of lawsuits and key Infinity Ward developer departures. According to the publicly revealed parts of the Bungie deal, the developer will retain all creative control over its new intellectual property, while Activision will have the exclusive worldwide publishing and distribution rights to that series for a 10-year window that expires in 2020. The Times cited "people familiar with the situation" for the information.
The paper also gave West and Zampella's attorney Bobby Schwartz a platform to launch a verbal barb at Activision, as the lawyer quipped, "It's astonishing how much money Activision had to pay to cover up its horns and pitchforks with a halo." Financial terms of the Bungie-Activision deal were not publicly disclosed.
The aftermath of the West and Zampella firings continued to take shape today as four more ex-Infinity Ward developers had joined the pair at their new studio, Respawn Entertainment. Designers Preston Glenn, Sean Slayback, Zied Rieke, and Chad Grenier have all updated their LinkedIn profiles to list their current positions at Respawn.
Currently, LinkedIn includes over a dozen developers who list Respawn Entertainment as their employer, all of them having previously worked at Infinity Ward. West and Zampella both have profiles on the professional networking site, but neither has updated them yet with mention of Respawn.
Three of the four newly Respawned developers are also among the 38 current and former Infinity Ward developers who filed suit against Activision this week over unpaid Call of Duty bonuses. The fourth, Sean Slayback, may be listed on the suit as John Slayback.