Kotick: Easy decision to fire Infinity Ward devs

Activision CEO Robert Kotick says taking action against Vince Zampella and Jason West was easy decision to make; no plans for Call of Duty movie.

Firing Infinity Ward top talent Jason West and Vince Zampella in 2010 was not a difficult decision for Activision CEO Robert Kotick to make. In a New York Times profile published this week, Kotick addressed the swift and severe action taken against the high-profile developers.

“You find out two executives are planning to break their contracts, keep the money you gave them, and steal 40 employees. What do you do? You fire them,” Kotick said.

Activision's high-profile court case against West and Zampella, along with 40 other former Infinity Ward developers, was settled in May this year before it could be heard by a trial. Terms of the deal were not disclosed at the time and have not been since, though one analyst previously projected this figure to be in the tens of millions.

Elsewhere in the profile, it was revealed why the massively popular Call of Duty brand has not spawned a Hollywood adaptation. Kotick said game-to-film adaptations rarely work out and could in fact blemish the franchise. Hollywood studios have reached out to Activision, he said, though all requests thus far have been denied.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

0 comments
jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

This is a industry news saga- And everyone needs to read up on it. While there are two sides to every story the above comment was either mad rantings or a ceo trying to keep his job, anyway there is alot to this but below is my simplified version- I encourage anyone interested in the gaming industry to read up on it. 

************

You hire a guy to paint a picture of a boat to sell to others with an agreement to share profits a certain way.  You pay him up front. The artist creates all these new tools, devices, brush techniques, lighting, and ways of doing things to make the portrait of a boat a huge seller. Billion dollar seller. 

Okay you now do not want to share the profits as agreed, making a very unhappy artist. Your now afraid they may paint something else for another guy who will then make a ton of money.  So you engineer a firing in hopes of keeping all the money - but what is worse is

You claim that the artists way of creating the painting is now your property. Everything from brush strokes, lighting, angles - anything the artist did to make that painting so great is now your property and he can not use them on anything he wants to paint in the future.

That is what Activision CEO Kotick tried to do. Who lost big time.

 **************

Hero to company industry

Goat to creative developers 

 

Borderlands666
Borderlands666

Anyone who says EA is worse than Activision, could you do us and your mothers a favor and kill your self's. Your really not worth the Oxygen you take from te rest of us. No company on this planet is worse than activision, and Kotick. Only morons and idiots actually think CoD is a worth while game anymore. Thats ok just keep buying the trash and ruining the industry you will regret it sooner or later. And then maybe youll be depressed enough to pull the trigger.

 

PapaArchDeluxe
PapaArchDeluxe

It seems Robert Kotick is on a roll!  Under his lead, Activision just might turn into another EA....just might.

 

"Keep On Gaming, Gamers." -- Papa Arch Deluxe

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

Anyone on this site defending this guy is a literal moron. Remember, he's the dude who WOULD raise game prices past $60 if he could. He literally admitted that his business strategy is just pumping out game after game until people get sick of it then they drop the franchise. Tony Hawk? Guitar Hero? Jesus man, seeing this fuckface smile makes me want to slap his consumer disrespecting ass.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

blemish the franchise hahaha wow, that really gave me a good laugh. Lets all look forward to the 6th CoD game still running on the same old, tired ass engine next year.

PrinceJ23
PrinceJ23

lol a movie would blemish, the call of duty franchise, you already did that releasing 1-2 COD games a year.

X-RS
X-RS

God that pic @_@

I can just see it in a red/black two tone with "K O T I C K" and some release date printed at the bottom.

(Well, I spose some photoshop for vampire teeth)

DigitalNoodle
DigitalNoodle

Did he forget about the e-mails that revealed he had no plans on paying Vince and Jason the money that was promised to them by firing them?  

Henninger
Henninger

Im all for freedom of speech but in Kotick's case it needs to be revoked. I will embrace the day he no longer is the head of Activision.

tframp420
tframp420

Kotick, don't you have enough money to buy yourself a hot wife with enough fashion sense to tell you to grow some side-burns cuz your hair looks like a powdered wig dyed brown.Just saying... ; ) 

Syvarth
Syvarth

I think people forget that Kotick has a business to run.  He cares more for money than games/gamers? True. But he is not there for games, he's there to make money from them.  With as much as we know now, it seems obvious that neither side has done only good.  It's hard for people to look at this situation without bias, but it makes you look so immature when you don't consider what the entire situation is...business. To end, That's Business. Things like this happen in every field.

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

Obviously, Kotick is going to call them the bad guys. The guy is slime and I can't stand him. He has no respect for the people he employs nor does he respect his consumers. I can only hope something happens that would cause him to have to step down from his position and let someone else be in charge that actually gives a damn.

holtrocks
holtrocks

He's a business man pure and simple has no love for games.

decoy1978
decoy1978

I hope one day that Kotaku releases an article on what exactly went down with these guys.

 

You either side with the developers and believe they were working for a Scrooge who was going to fire them anyways regardless just to save money. Or you side with this guy and believe that Zampella and West were planning a coup d'etat. Either way to say that either side were blameless is a lie. When you deal with hundreds of millions a lot of things get eschewed. 

TheologicVs
TheologicVs

Out of all the Game to Movie adaptations I think Call of Duty would be the easiest hands down. For whatever reason all of the games I can think of that attempted or have been rumored to have a movie adaptation were set in Sci-Fi lore and required what I assume to be more complicated special effects and tricks. It's not like Doom, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Halo, Gears of War, or Dragon Ball Z where they need a lot of imagination to atone for things such as monsters and character designs that only work in Video Games, Cartoons etc. Granted I'm sure the adaptation would still be a challenge. I just don't think a Call of Duty movie would be AS risky and demanding as the aforementioned. 

 

I would love to see the response of releasing a Call of Duty movie. I wonder how well it'd sell on opening night. Unlike Kotick, I can't imagine why making a CoD movie would "Blemish" the franchise. This is the only video game franchise so far (that I've heard of) where a film adaptation just seems so doable and right! If anything I believe releasing a movie would make the franchise even more legendary, regardless of it's quality. Imagine seeing Soap, Price, Ghost, Sandman all in an actual movie! I mean it just feels so right to me. I don't even play CoD. 

swamptick
swamptick

I am laughing at all the dumbass children posting on this thread. They love to bash this guy because they think it makes them look superior somehow. In truth, they are zitty little turds sitting in their mothers basement casting dispersions on a very rich, smart and successful man.

Muddrox_dev
Muddrox_dev

He's worried about blemishing the franchise after releasing the call of duty for the PS Vita.... Get real

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

I LLLLLLLLLLLLOVE this quote!!! ready? .... "blemish the franchise" phwaa... phwwaaa... WAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

"You find out that your employees stand to make millions on royalties due to the contract we gave them and will retain the rights of the Modern Warfare franchise, then the sales explode more than your estimates - what do you do? You spy on them to find some dirt and when you can't, you invent a story about them seeking employment with a competitor and fire them. You then withhold any royalty payments to the rest of the employees unless they stay with Infinity Ward since 'we can only pay you if you work here', even if the work they would have gotten paid for is already done."

 

There, I fixed your quote there Kotick. 

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

Although the image was never very clear, this guy's face and hair remind me of Super Mario's Toad.

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

It amazes me that someone so out of touch could be in charge of such a large organization (and make millions doing it).  That being said, the math doesn't lie.  Let me show you:

 

Power = Work / Time  (known equation, whether it's mechanical or electrical power)

 

If Knowledge is Power and Time is Money, the equation becomes:

 

Knowledge = Work / Money

 

Solve for Money:

 

Money = Work / Knowledge

 

As Knowledge goes to zero, money goes to infinite.

raydawg2000
raydawg2000

you know how there are just those faces where looking at them just rubs you the wrong way and you  want to punch it....this guy is one of them for me.

Icepick_Trotter
Icepick_Trotter

You don't need to make a movie, just show a playthrough of the game in theaters. It'd be the same thing except it wouldn't annoy you with tiny gameplay bits every now and then...

wizzzer_thy_133
wizzzer_thy_133

Activision cannot survive without COD, i have a feeling that Mark Lamia and David Vonderharr might also abandon ship and we might even see Treyarch disappear soon...

jaydawg5121
jaydawg5121

I thought he looked like the slimy boss from the movie Moneyball.  Then I looked it up.  He IS the weaselly boss from Moneyball http://kotaku.com/5844105/in-moneyball-activisions-bobby-kotick-plays-a-familiar-role 

 

Blem-ish (verb:used with object) - to destroy or diminish the perfection of: As Activision not wanting to "blemish" their COD brand with a movie.

 

I-ro-ny (noun) - the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: As Activision is worried that a movie might blemish the perfection that is COD.

 

haha - Suck it Alanis Morissette

tgwolf
tgwolf

 @Borderlands666 I will NEVER argue that CoD is a worthless game, just look at it's ESRB rating! But Activision did the right thing with the developers. Breaking a contract is WRONG and the guys SHOULD HAVE admitted to it, all assuming they were real men, which apparently they were not, given the fact that they were going to break contract.

Crossel777
Crossel777

 @Syvarth 

 

Screw lining this fat man's pockets with money.  Gaming is all that matters here.

Keaze_
Keaze_

 @Pierce_Sparrow The usual saying is, if you remove this one, another just like him will take his place.  But oddly I can't think of anyone being as greedy and self-absorbed as this man.

Crossel777
Crossel777

 @holtrocks 

 

A business man that has no love for gaming who has control over a popular gaming franchise and gaming company.  Doesn't really sound like a good idea does it?   Kotick will surely drive the CoD franchise into the ground one day.  That will be a cause for celebration. 

lyncer777
lyncer777

 @swamptick im Laughing at you till the end of days! LOL

maybe you are Kotick's son? Swamptick? = Tick Insect.

 

LLOooOoOoOoOooOOoOoOooooOOOOOOoLLLlL

cfstar
cfstar

 @swamptick Not going to write a wall of text explaining something, i'm just gonna say it:

You're a fucking moron and it's people like you that disgusting man like these are successful. Thanks for that, tool.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@swamptick No ones bashing him because he's rich and successful, they are bashing him because he represents everything that is wrong with the gaming industry.

spammehardo
spammehardo

 @swamptick This disgusting shell of a man doesn't care about anyone or anything other then making money. He doesn't care about the quality of the product or who is making it or even the industry as a whole that he himself is helping to destroy. He is happy as long as the mindless masses keep buying $15 map packs for a game that comes out every year is making millions.

Muddrox_dev
Muddrox_dev

 @swamptick I'm laughing at all the call of duty fanboys that make it so blatantly obvious that they're indeed a fanyboy. :/

 

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

Of course, I now just insulted Toad...

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

 @Icepick_Trotter I completely agree with you.  And to make sure the movie stays true to the game, about halfway through one soldier should say, "Hey look!  I finally killed enough bad guys so I can now reload faster!"  and another one would say "Now I can call in an airstrike!"

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

 @wizzzer_thy_133 They still have Blizzard, so I wouldn't say that COD is ALL they have. Activision as a whole isn't the problem. It's the people in charge of it.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

 @tgwolf  @Borderlands666 Wooow dude, stop drinking the Kool Aide for a moment - You might want to read up on the whole news article of the case and the drama surrounding it. Gameinformer and this website have some good articles on it. while there is plenty of blame to go around- 

 

CEO Kotick comment has a much larger background not seen - and Gamespot news editor should really have added a little more information to this article- Gamespot stop hiring bloggers instead of real journalists. 

 

Anyways not defending West and Zampella- 

-But CEO Activision Kotick - withheld or was in dispute 10s of millions of dollars in profits from CoD infinity ward.

-He hired detectives and put in listening devices in their place of work actively engineering the firing of the two for company profits

- Tried to dismantle the creative talent with heavy hands and lawsuits - in order to break up the developers and take it over

-Lock them out of their own offices and even tried to have them arrested.

-MOST importantly he tried to argue or set precedence that a game publisher (puts up the money- distributes the game) owns the intellectual property and creativity of the developer (those that create the game design, characters, engines, etc) would then be wholly owned there after. -Shivers-

 

DeusAlex
DeusAlex

 @Crossel777  @Dawg9000

 It's guys like this that kill innovation. Something CoD Fankids' don't understand. I use to like CoD but thanks to this guy, it's now BF3. Better graphics, sound and gameplay.It might be owned by EA but atleast DICE doesn't put out the same game with just a new panit job. CoD has been using same old engine since CoD4MW!! It's guys like Kotick that are bad for the industry, because they care more about profit and less on the quality of the product. 

Syvarth
Syvarth

 @Crossel777 You obviously do not live in the real world.  That's basically it. You are incredibly far removed from what it takes for the world to actually run.

pez2k_
pez2k_

Which itself is an evolution of the CoD1 engine, which is based on MoH: Allied Assault, which is in turn based on Quake 3. Technically that then is derived from Quake 2, Quake, Doom, and Wolf3D.

 

CoD1 to 2 is probably the biggest evolutionary step in the series though, with 2 to 4 being smaller but still decent. MW2 had another upgrade, but since IW were effectively gutted progress has faltered.

Syvarth
Syvarth

 @Crossel777 Actually, in the real world, people understand that business men need to do business for businesses to run. Without slimy men like Kotick, things don't run so smoothly.  And you should care about "money grubbing suits" because they get the money to produce the games you love.

 

P.S. Kotick isn't a developer. He's the CEO. 

Crossel777
Crossel777

 @Syvarth 

 

Oh and in this real world of yours we're all greedy, fat and arrogant.    Believe it or not but some game developers actually have a passion to create great games.   As gamers we shouldn't care about the money grubbing suits.