This time last year, the thought of a wholly owned developer splitting off from its parent company was unthinkable. Then, Bungie Studios stunned the industry by doing just that, amicably parting with owner Microsoft after generating over $1 billion with the Xbox and Xbox 360's flagship Halo franchise.
With the Bungie precedent hanging in the background, it appears another top-tier studio has also sat down at the table with its corporate overlord--and chosen to stay put. Late last week, Infinity Ward director of communications Robert Bowling quietly posted an update on the Iamfourzerotwo.com Web site saying "we have decided to re-up on our contract with Activision publishing" following a "recently renegotiated deal."
Perhaps more excitingly, the community manager also used the post to reveal the new agreement with Activision "has laid the groundwork and kick started our future project, as well as the possibility of a unique new IP by Infinity Ward that we'll have complete control over." (Emphasis added.) Bowling went on to say "We're excited to be working on our next project, but it's going to be quite a while before I can share any details on exactly what that project is."
Indeed, Activision had good reason to hash out a favorable arrangement with Infinity Ward, which won numerous awards for its latest effort, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Besides frequently being the most popular game on Xbox Live, the title was also last year's top cross-platform title, moving over 10 million copies as of last month. According to industry research firm the NPD Group, it is the eighth best-selling video game in US history.