Infinity Ward to close, expects analyst

Janco Partners' Mike Hickey says Modern Warfare 2 developer likely to be closed after next map pack; Modern Warfare 3 duties to be split between two other studios.

Earlier this month, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter weighed in on the departure of about a dozen employees from Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 developer, Infinity Ward. He said the studio could lose 20 more and the publisher would just replace them and still put out a competitive product. One of Pachter's colleagues today expressed a more dire appraisal of the situation.

A beautiful house is turned into a smoldering pile of burned wreckage in Modern Warfare 2.

In a note to investors, Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey said the Infinity Ward departures "have created meaningful uncertainty around the future of their Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise," not to mention the studio itself. Hickey expects that Activision will shutter the studio entirely after the next map pack add-on for Modern Warfare 2 is released.

As for the follow-up, Hickey said development on Modern Warfare 3 would be split between two studios "not historically tied to the franchise." When that game does arrive, Hickey doesn't think it will quite live up to the blockbuster sales of its predecessor. He is expecting a fourth-quarter 2011 release of the game to bring in $738 million by the year's end, where Modern Warfare 2's sales total for roughly the same period was about $1 billion.

Infinity Ward has been the center of turmoil within Activision since last month, when the publisher fired studio cofounders Jason West and Vince Zampella. They sued the company, which sued back, alleging that the pair had been plotting to start a new studio with chief Activision rival Electronic Arts. Within weeks of their termination, West and Zampella started a new studio with chief Activision rival Electronic Arts. A number of Infinity Ward developers jumped ship to join the new studio, dubbed Respawn Entertainment, while others simply resigned. This week, a group of 38 former and current Infinity Ward developers sued Activision for as much as $625 million, alleging the publisher had been withholding royalty and bonus payments due them.

Written By

Want the latest news about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Follow

Discussion

471 comments
nugXL
nugXL

@littlejordan23 That's not the campaign, that's a screenshot from one of my favorite multiplayer maps on CoD4. I like CoD too, don't be so quick to judge. However, I do loooove BF3.

littlejordan23
littlejordan23

@nugXL stfu bf3 fanboy get out if u dont like they never said it was destructable its in the campaign

nugXL
nugXL

Haha! Read the caption on the picture in the article. As if Call of Duty has destructible environment. Sorry Gamespot, CoD is not BF3.

kobyjordan7
kobyjordan7

One down...one more to go! Activision prepare to die!

wars45
wars45

ther will still be top cod games has they got a lot of money and they khow .they cant flop with next game

AStriegel75
AStriegel75

Poor IW the twisted games you and activision have been playing. Anyway I am just excited to see what Respawn will give us. I hope it's not a shooter.

metaltorn
metaltorn

noooooooooooooooooo!!! -DARTH VADER

bobstos
bobstos

Infinity Ward brought us the Original Call of Duty on PC's WAY back in 2001. Does anyone remember how groundbreaking it was? I can still favorably recall some moments that just made my jaw drop, even after all these years. IW used to be the shining star of PC game developers, and sadly, this is how it turned out. It saddens me to know that a franchise like this had so much promise in the start ended up going down this way. Greedy publishers, ludicrous contract agreements, spin-off after spin-off after spin off... The franchise should have ended at Modern Warfare, and at least at that point it would have been a respectable end.

DaRk_NiTeMaRe
DaRk_NiTeMaRe

Companies, take note. This is what happens when you work under Fuhrer Kotick. Lesson learned? Don't work with Activision unless you want your IP run into the ground.

Fast_Eddie_2
Fast_Eddie_2

Ah well. Goodbye to infinity ward eh... For all you console users out there, I can understand your sadness. Death of a great console game dev. :( For all you PC gamers out there, rejoyce that there is now more likelyhood of dedicated servers in new CoD's :)

wyvren12x
wyvren12x

LOL! my last comment got -15 and isnt under criteria to be shown! i still dont care and ive seen so many R.I.P I.W. comments and just that... well i dislike it cuz it definatley should be B.I.H. I.W.

MrGingerG
MrGingerG

Rich Mans Greed: 1. Everyone Else: 0 :(

jamesm7786
jamesm7786

Perhaps we'll be lucky and not see a sequel for a few years and get a break...

Migitman45
Migitman45

R.I.P Infinity Ward!!!! The Call of Duty series will never be the same thanks to Activision!!

another_drew
another_drew

expect iw to close. wow wait to state the obvious hickey. did you honestly expect them to slap their publisher in the nuts and stick around for the backlash? i hope every single one of them leave and go to respawn, who will win the Modern Warfare licensing, then turn around and actually spend time developing a GOOD game. then i hope they get their full payment from their lawsuits so that they will already have established a nice little nest egg without the funding they are already receiving from EA. then av and bungie can sit around and stroke each other for all i care.

spikbeatz
spikbeatz

@xtremeflem2day you can't complain about how someone plays the game and blame it on the game. Especially when you can do the exact same thing as that particular person is doing to you or whatever. I assume you were talking about yourself in your last comment. I know exactly what you mean, don't get me wrong, I just don't complain about it and say "the game sucks because people are playing using the weapons and perks and killstreaks they earned". I assume you didn't play CoD 4 because the core of the gameplay and all it's glory i.e. camping in corners and waiting for people to pass by you, is the same. You just now have more goodies at your disposal. Run the radar jamming perk to counter the heartbeat sensors. Really, it's just that simple. The game doesn't suck, it's the way people play, is what sucks. That should've been your statement. "don't hate the game, hate the player"

Lingleface
Lingleface

@VERTIGO47 CoD4:MW (Infinity Ward) was entertaining, for a little while--until it became overrun with glitchers. CoD:WaW (Treyarch), which I have playing since about three months since its release, has never given me a single problem. CoD:MW2 (Infinity Ward) is pure garbage, as previously mentioned. Sure, Activision is evil. That's the color of the business these days. But between Treyarch and Infinity Ward, it's obvious which one I'm more likely to bank on. You can have your "research," if that's what you call your cute little bandwagon. I'll have my experience, and my appreciation for video games worth playing.

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

I hope activision goes under,they havent been part of a good game for years

KillerWabbit23
KillerWabbit23

Is that house a metaphor for the COD franchise? Let's hope not...

Diashi
Diashi

I'm actually fairly happy with all this...I lost interest in CoD a couple games back sure the new ones are shinier. But they need to move on to something new. I still like activision, they haven't done anything worse than any other company has in the past. It's how corporations and life work. I still want them to get one of their dev teams to pull off a Battlezone 3. Been hoping for that forever. Such good games, just didn't have the advertising they needed.

nobeaner
nobeaner

If I remember right this is not the first time this has happened to them. i believe IW created medal of honor and then left EA after some dispute. Look how far MoH fell after that. Same thing might just happen to CoD now.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

At this point the reputation of the Infinity Ward brand within the gaming industry has been battered and broken. I suspect the general consumers who buy CoD and Modern Warfare games don't pay much attention to the IW branding as they do the name of the games. It seems that the best bet would be to shut it down and either create a new studio or shuffle the staff into a current developer. _

Topperfalkon
Topperfalkon

I think that's the best thing to happen to IW really. I mean, look what happened when Valve ditched Vivendi and won the IP rights. They became one of the most successful and treasured developers in the PC gaming industry. They can even turn one of gaming's most notoriously critical reviewers (Yahtzee) into a gushing fanboy. This is nothing but good news for IW, providing they win the court case (and there is a precedent of supporting devs) and the IP.

headshot3
headshot3

Bigbudd0045 Posted Apr 29, 2010 9:10 pm GMT @headshot3 they arent taking over bungie, they have a 10 year publishing deal. After 10 years, Bungie can do what they like. Also, Bungie will retain the control and rights over any IP they develop. This makes Bungie a Second Party Developer for Activision. They will do what they want and probably need to show proof of concept to ensure funding. Similarly, Respawn isnt owned by EA they are part of the EA Partners program, so if they choose not to be at some point, they can go their own way after fulfilling any contract obligations, also Respawn will own their own properties. This is a good model for the industry, im not against first party dveloped games, but the industry needs developers who will focus on quality and not get tied down into sequal after sequal. I like franchises, but I like seeing new IPs. For example, I love Uncharted 1 and 2, and I look forward to UC3, but only if thats what Naughty Dog really wants to do, if they choose to do something else, ill be a little disappointed at no UC3 (though after the last one i think UC3 is a given) but interested in seeing wha they do next. I like the idea of Bungie going multiplatform, mostly because I dont have a 360. thats what i was meaning retard don't try and jump on something someone says until you get your facts straight bungie is taking over the call of duty projects.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

Personally, I pay for my entertainment. MW and MW2 provided me with a lot of that. I don't care about Infinity Ward or Activision or the politics or who made what, if there is a MW3 and it's as good as its predecessors, I'm getting it.

Vaultboy-101
Vaultboy-101

That doesnt sound good for the future of modern warfare. When stuff like this happens it ruins the series. Or it could surprise everyone and be great.

grasshopper6
grasshopper6

hmmmm, idk about modern warfare 3 it prob. could of been better than 2 but now, haaaaah

gamerpipe
gamerpipe

@DSfanatic5 I don't know if I love you but I love your dog. You are very right about your predictions, I drink and play all kind of games too, even the ones banned in Australia..... I don't care who produce the next "great" call of duty, as long as they do a game that I like and enjoy and without TI. My rant about MW2 comes from the fact that I'm addicted to the game, but couple of problems ruin it to me at the same time. Think about it like the hangover you get after a nice drinking night. or the Herpes you get from a hot free-for-all lady. Warning: Reading this comment may give you STD. although , I'm not alcoholic and I'm STD free just FYI.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

@Xequtra That's exactly the question everybody made with the overpriced map pack and look how that turned out.

dah_master
dah_master

Gimme yur games and i take care of it for you no praablem - Activision

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

infinity ward is as good as done now anyway everyone important has gone.

Xequtra
Xequtra

"When that game does arrive, Hickey doesn't think it will quite live up to the blockbuster sales of its predecessor" Quite the understatement isn't it? But who will buy it?

redguard117
redguard117

i think the next few cod games (you know theyre coming) will be a test for treyarch. people say they always copy infinity ward and mw, lets see what they do now when they are forced to produce their own engine and innovations

charmed_star
charmed_star

@slingshot_ylo: Call of Doody... now THAT'S funny! LOL

slingshot_ylo
slingshot_ylo

Well, the hard part's already done for Activision, i.e., the development of a viable game engine. Now, all they have to do is just hire a bunch of novice designers and programmers to quickly and cheaply retread the h3ll out of it. I expect to see Kotick touting Activision's next big innovation: the FPPS (First Person Plumber Shooter). Anyone up for a game of Call of Doody?

charmed_star
charmed_star

One thing's for certain, I don't judge any game until I play it, so we'll just have to wait and see when the games come out. But Activision... shame on you!

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

These developers made a fine product, I don't think I've ever played a game where the shooting mechanics felt so tight. I just hope that whatever game they're working on will kick some butt and take some names with it, b/c in my opinion, just because they made a great shooter, does that mean they can make something else really great? I feel the same thing about Bungie. Yea, they make great Halo, but what else can they make? If it's stuff like Halo wars than I'm scared for both developers.

scotwolf
scotwolf

suprise suprise i am sure we can all see this coming. more n more staff are abandoning ship. whats left, do they(activision) replace staff or just close IW and move franchise elsewhere

Amander123
Amander123

@Black_Pander I totally agree. Respawn entertainment is going to dish out some kick@$$ games no doubt about that. So I guess theres one good thing lol

BornGamer
BornGamer

Good riddance ya gang o' sellouts. :p

Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

@headshot3 they arent taking over bungie, they have a 10 year publishing deal. After 10 years, Bungie can do what they like. Also, Bungie will retain the control and rights over any IP they develop. This makes Bungie a Second Party Developer for Activision. They will do what they want and probably need to show proof of concept to ensure funding. Similarly, Respawn isnt owned by EA they are part of the EA Partners program, so if they choose not to be at some point, they can go their own way after fulfilling any contract obligations, also Respawn will own their own properties. This is a good model for the industry, im not against first party dveloped games, but the industry needs developers who will focus on quality and not get tied down into sequal after sequal. I like franchises, but I like seeing new IPs. For example, I love Uncharted 1 and 2, and I look forward to UC3, but only if thats what Naughty Dog really wants to do, if they choose to do something else, ill be a little disappointed at no UC3 (though after the last one i think UC3 is a given) but interested in seeing wha they do next. I like the idea of Bungie going multiplatform, mostly because I dont have a 360.

Onsfan
Onsfan

Did I hear someone yelled "ABANDON SHIP!!!" ?

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

Analyst: someone paid for their opinion. GS pay me - I'll give you plenty of opinions :)

Black_Pander
Black_Pander

I agree with amander, BUT on the positive side, respawn entertainment will be making similar games, but with more creative freedom so the games will be much more original, hopefully...

Amander123
Amander123

The COD series is screwed from this point on. Expect lame and pointless storylines from the series. Activision always seems to find some way screw up good games. Take guitar hero for example. It did well and they exploited the title so much that it became garbage. And dont even get me started on band hero or dj hero.... epic fails. Modern Warfare is great but now that IW is outta the picture... I see the series being dead in a few years

charmed_star
charmed_star

I think it just comes down to the same old - same old... employers not treating their employees well. Even if the two head honchos chose to leave to start their own business, whoopdeedoo! Who hasn't done that? Stop whining. But the fact that SO many employees have left to join them or have just suddenly quit, is saying something quite revealing about Activision management. It's very unfortunate and since we aren't personally a part of the situation, we can't fully judge, but if Activision truly mistreated their staff and/or didn't properly compensate them, then they deserve what they get. And as a result, a good gaming franchise will suffer.

beprice3
beprice3

Activision to IW. Your base are belong to us!

headshot3
headshot3

bungie take over probably just as successful as IW if not more successful