Four more ex-Infinity Warders Respawn as exodus grows to 26

At least nine members of Modern Warfare 2 team now at former bosses' indie studio; reports say 13 artists, engineers, designers, and HR recruiters left studio in past five days.

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Two weeks ago, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said that Infinity Ward could lose up to 31 employees and still make a "competitive product." Now, according to gaming blog Kotaku, the number of resignations from the studio following Activision's firing of founders Jason West and Vince Zampella in March stands at 26--just five short of Pachter's magic number. Of those, 13 staffers have reportedly submitted resignations in just the past five days.

The Infinity Ward exodus appears to be accelerating.

The LinkedIn profiles of four of the 13 show that they have joined West and Zampella at their new independent studio, Respawn Entertainment. Senior software engineer Chris Lambert, senior level designer Jason McCord, senior artist Ryan Lastimosa, and game designer Brent McLeod are now officially employed by the studio, which is setting up shop in the same area of Los Angeles as Infinity Ward.

The quartet joins top members of the Modern Warfare 2 team already at Respawn, which is being bankrolled by Electronic Arts as an advance on revenues from its first game, to be published under the EA Partners program. Lead designer Todd Alderman, lead software engineer Francesco Gigliotti, lead environment artist Chris Cherubini, lead animator John Paul Messerly, and lead animator Mark Grigsby all got on board the startup in the two weeks after West and Zampella announced its existence.

LinkedIn profiles also confirm six more now-ex-Infinity Ward employees as no longer being with the company. Senior artist Brad Allen, software engineer Robert Field, veteran designer Preston Glenn, designer Chad Grenier, and Mohammad Alavi all now list their Infinity Ward employment as ending in April 2010. They were preceded out the door by the final Modern Warfare 2 lead designers a fortnight ago.

The last confirmed departure may prove one of the most troublesome for Activision in its efforts to stem the Infinity Ward exodus. Kristin Cotterell, who oversaw "all HR and recruiting for Infinity Ward," including the hiring in "all departments including art, animation, design, software engineering, admin, and production," has also left the studio. In an interview with GameSpot earlier this month, West and Zampella said that their immediate focus was to build up a team as quickly as possible--a task that Cotterell would be ideally suited for.

Discussion

296 comments
rann89
rann89

This is what they get for screwing everyone over on Modern Warfare 2.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

Ha, so I'm sure I'm not the first to point this out, but "Respawn Entertainment"? Nice tongue-in-cheek humor there. But the fact remains I really hope Activision does go down if they did, in fact (and I stress that cuz you can never be sure), screw over the employees.

scotwolf
scotwolf

the end is nigh, IW is on its last legs and is slowly dwindling down and will surely die soon, and activision will no doubt just hand the cod franchise to another developer life goes on for activision and respawn. i'm getting tired of all this tit for tat suing each other,more people leaving etc. i just want good cod games also i hope respawn develop cracking games too

corpsefactory13
corpsefactory13

its good to see a company that stands with there partners

georgeorjose
georgeorjose

dont tell me they forgot to pay there employees!!! dumb campers

eal-zubieri
eal-zubieri

lets hope that they will develop better games.

June-GS
June-GS

@VooDooPC: I absolutely agree. I was already apprehensive before, but now I'm even more uncertain about this Pachter fella. And it's not just 'coz of the numbers game as you mentioned. Most of the key personnel (as in "key" to the success of IW's games) are already gone. But hey, who knows, he MIGHT turn out to be right in the end, but at least for now, I ain't holdin' my breath.

VooDooPC
VooDooPC

At the beginning of April Infinity Ward had 70 employees and Micheal Pachter thinks they can make a competitive product with 31 employees gone, almost 1/2? I don't think so...

wasdf111
wasdf111

Call of Doody is coming to an end... I guess James Ramirez will not be going to Moscow and Soap will probably bleed to death in a helicopter. They have made a long and succesful run but I guess it's BFBC's turn to shine... just wait and they will become the next hit. @KamikazeCanuck So you want a realistic game eh? How about when you get shot you fall on the ground because bullets actually hurt! And then Snipers become extremely hard to use and guns actually give quite a bit of recoil. Oh and how about not a magic iron sight that always seems to shoot bullets at the tip of the sight no matter what the range

antsaround
antsaround

@ nevryn You are correct in all you speak, however, the talent behind the magic that is CoD is what will hurt the next installment of the franchise because it is falling apart faster then a fat ladies blouse at a buffet :D While Activision has many good ip's, their best selling ip and installment to date is CoD:MW2. Even if the next CoD installment sees the light of day, it will be picked apart by game sites, magazines and last but NEVER least, me and you, the ones that pay for it all at the end of the day. So yes my fellow gamer, THEIR CASH COW IS ON THE LOOSE. moooooOO!

EarthBounder89
EarthBounder89

Does this sound similar to Atari developers breaking away to form activision? I think so, now Activision has become a disgrace to the industry and practicing business the way they used to abhor. What a bunch of hypocrites. I hopethey crumble, that way Guitar Hero can sleep with the fishes.

KamikazeCanuck
KamikazeCanuck

@MrBubblezz I don't Halo multiplayer because I don't FPS multiplayer where people can jump 10 feet in the air. It looks stupid and unrealistic and takes away from a firefight. Guess how much jumping soldiers do in real life. Never liked GOW multiplayer: takes like 5 shotgun shots to kill someone. Once again prefer realism.

RossiShakaBlue
RossiShakaBlue

I'm afraid the money they raked in took first priority, and now they are feeling the affects. Making $1.1 billion, is grea, but when you lose your employees to the extent that you might go under is not great. Even though MW2 was not such great game, I still fell for the studio.

steven141
steven141

Hopefully Activision has learned a lesson from all this, although they probably havn't.

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

It would be great/funny if they named themselves Exodus

Avier525
Avier525

@ milan4554 Are you really that naive? They have the programming code, they're banking on filling the positions with people that can understand it, not recreate it. They're (Activision) going to put out another COD game under Infinity Ward. With the name alone, it will sell....unfortunately.

eoj
eoj

Well on a positive note there are alot of job openings at Infinity Ward. Those seeking a job in the game industry have a opportunity now. :)

milan4554
milan4554

im so happy bcse EA already making MOH Modern War. i dont think IW will be competitive against EA now

doktron
doktron

GOOD! Maybe now they can make a proper COD game for the PC, including proper dedicated servers for multiplayer, with support for 32 or 64 players.(I can always hope!)

howie1926
howie1926

Say goodbye to that cushy job Kotick

Delius
Delius

This is the definition of poetic justice to me. Losing their number one money making franchise because of their own greed, way to go Actigreedy.

Topperfalkon
Topperfalkon

see, this is what happens when businessmen mess about with the gaming industry. The irony involved is just delicious though.

whiskymaster
whiskymaster

Wow This is Like Bonus Entertainment from Activision and we get it for FREE... Ha Ha Ha I'm really looking forward to see what Respawn come up with.. What a perfect name for their new company :-)

wh1te_m4trix
wh1te_m4trix

Ah, Infinity Ward is now sailing in shallow seas, and the whole crew is evacuating. Activision is now left with a broken vessel. Good :)

shivLasers
shivLasers

You know your company is screwed when the guy who was in charge of hiring new staff leaves.

jarofdirt882
jarofdirt882

This just gets better an better... And that's what happens when you screw with your employees, Activision.

ronnieo54
ronnieo54

i think its been mentioned, but infinity ward is a small portion of a large corporation, one part of which is the money minting operation known as Blizzard. While this may hurt the CoD franchise, it won't really impact the company as a whole for a while.

chidori455
chidori455

This is brilliant. Now all of these ex-Infinity Ward employees are going to want to get back at Activision as best they can. I can't wait to see what they come up with :)

chrispicard
chrispicard

I'm not buying COD this Christmas, i'll go with Medal Of Honor, Halo: Reach, Crysis 2, Brink, Ghost Recon 4, Fable 3, and Fall Out: New Vegas!... who needs a new COD this year?.. NOT ME!

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

and we're surprised by this because...?? Good luck Respawn looking forward to your first title announcement!!

mms420mms
mms420mms

Best of luck to Respawn studio & its member for quick growth & thanks to EA sports helping them.

benboz
benboz

IW isn't gonna exist anymore once everyone is gone. Well done Activision. At least EA is better than Activision.

gamerpipe
gamerpipe

Maybe activision then can quit making MW 3 , and rather make new game called Exodus the game. and rename Infinity Ward to Infinity WART.

mrmikeledet
mrmikeledet

Oh hell yeah, if this doesn't get that gargantuan ass of a clown little bobby kotick fired than we all lose!!!

bennae66
bennae66

its a bit like the exodus of people who stopped playing modern warfare 2 and migrated to bad company 2 for their many reasons. one of which was no doubt the cost of activisions stimulus.

Corvan
Corvan

people never learn..espically companies of the simple fact..YOU CANT CHEAT!!

akiwak
akiwak

More people that have the courage to back up their bosses claims. I have no doubt that Activision was in the wrong and strong arming these guys.

NiteShadeX
NiteShadeX

In the words of my personal savior, Spetznas Announcer. Tactical Nuke Incoming! It's Over!

Henninger
Henninger

This is great!!! Kotick just resign!!! Believe me in the end it'll b the better choice than to continue as the lead of that company. Quitting while ahead is not the same as quitting.

nitromuffin
nitromuffin

@nevryn activision has the title to cod and will release a game this year

ghandi16
ghandi16

I'm gonna follow this one like a hawk, I smell blood!

nevryn
nevryn

@antsaround Not really. The only thing that will really hurt them is if the lose the CoD license, which that trial will be held up in court forever. The overwhelming majority of people that buy CoD games don't bother with these sorts of sites or gaming news. Heck for the most part, they won't even know who made the game other than maybe an AV and IW logo. So maybe they'll lose the thousand hardcore gamers that worship the ground the former IW people walk on, but most people won't care, or even know there's a change. They'll buy the next CoD simply because it's CoD. The new IW team may screw up the next game, and it might suck which will hurt sales for anything future, but that's rather far away. Of course that'll probably be when the case is finally settled, once the series is done. Anyways, they still have two big Blizzard games coming out this year which are unaffected by this drama and will likely sell as well if not better, so CoD is far from their only cash cow.

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

I didn't hate MW 2 because it was successful commercially- I was a huge CoD 4 fan who put countless hours into that game's online. I hated MW 2 because the multiplayer took all of the problems CoD 4 had and made them worse. The game is DOMINATED by support, campers and boosters (the latter 2 being encouraged by the former). It completely ruined the pace of the online game and turned it into a camp fest where 1/3 kills or more are decided by an attack chopper. In domination (my preferred game mode before I quit for BC 2) at least 1 in 4 games were decided by a camper who launched a tac nuke. So yeah, it has nothing to do with commercial success or that I'm a fanboy of another series- it has everything to do with the fact that MW 2's online was an untested, unpolished piece of garbage.

Nivram045
Nivram045

@ jaymib "At ahpuck No way shoudl the ex IW people be let near Battlefield: bad company 3!!!!" why would they let them near BC3?

thedigitals
thedigitals

I could see Halo and MW2 appealing to differing types of people, MW2 has elements that almost border on an RPG where as Halo's more of a classic spawn and kill match

jaymib
jaymib

At ahpuck No way shoudl the ex IW people be let near Battlefield: bad company 3!!!!