Ousted Call of Duty creators get Hollywood representation

The LA Times reports Vince Zampella and Jason West have signed up with Creative Artists Agency, which also represents Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Tony Hawk, and David Letterman.

In the latest twist to the ongoing Call of Duty saga, ousted Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella have apparently gone Hollywood in a big way. The Los Angeles Times reports that the pair have signed with Creative Artists Agency, the showbiz-talent powerhouse that represents some of the biggest names in film, television, music, and sports. Among its client list are Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, David Letterman, Derek Jeter, and--ironically--Tony Hawk, the face of Activision's long-running skating game series.

As noted by the Times, it is rare for game developers to be represented by Hollywood talent agencies, which search for ideal projects for their clients and help negotiate contracts (all for a cut of the proceeds, naturally). However, were a top game developer to get representation, CAA would be the leading candidate. Besides its reputation as the most powerful agency in show business, it employs one of the creators of the original Xbox, Seamus Blackley, as a special agent to seek out deals with game-industry luminaries. He currently represents Tim Schafer's studio DoubleFine, amongst others.

Vince Zampella now has CAA on his side.

Though they now have a powerful force helping them look for their next game project, Zampella and West have a major legal fight ahead of them. The pair is suing Activision for $36 million, claiming the company used an "Orwellian" human resources investigation to get them fired on trumped-up accusations of "insubordination" and "breach of contract."

The pair was dismissed on March 1, the day before Activision announced it was creating an entire division dedicated to expanding the Call of Duty brand into new genres. Recently formed Sledgehammer Games is working on an action adventure spin-off, and the company is negotiating with "leading Asian publishers" to make a COD-branded massively multiplayer project. At least three Call of Duty games are currently in development, with Treyarch's rumored Cold War game due later this year.

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121 comments
KingOfTheNubeis
KingOfTheNubeis

Activison move with ruthless efficiency when it comes to money. Its no accident that IW did away with PC players own severs. Turning them into large consoles.Now if you want new maps ect you have to buy their weak DLC and pay for it. IW did their masters bidding,till they were of no more use. After the way they shafted PC gamers I laughed when Activision cut them out. If you lie down with snakes don't cry when you get bit.

aaronfhff123
aaronfhff123

@sargearge You kidding me? There was no fighting in the cold war? You need a history lesson. Many brutal battles took place in africa, vietnam, and Korea during the cold war.

sargearge
sargearge

i still dont understand how they can make a game set in the cold war if there was no fighting in that war. Are u just going to sit around a table full of soviets threatening to nuke them. if thats wat its going to be then screw it.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

ummm, yea let's turn the CoD franchise into the next Guitar Hero debacle. Take one good franchise and turn it into 10 crappy games. Don't worry Zampella, you'll be able to buy the franchise back on the cheap in a few years and reboot it.

hillboy619
hillboy619

activisions gonna pay for all those crappy games they made *cough* tony hawk

ObiWan86
ObiWan86

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KingARod1324
KingARod1324

well finally activision is getting what they deserve. "Orwellian" sounds serious. i am on Zampella's side. Activision are going down hill crashing to a massive FAIL!

Boblehead2008
Boblehead2008

activision is soon gonna kill every game it makes and im thinking bad company is next in activision's campaign of greed

Yuna00
Yuna00

Activision will do everything possible to ruin this great franchise. I will look foward the games of the creators, because most of the time the men behind a good game don't disappoint, but hordes of sequels do.

Cabal23
Cabal23

After the $15 map pack announcement I am fully with these guys. Everyone now sees the greed. I am all about Capitalism but Activision has shown their true colors on this. Their arrogance will be their undoing.

Australians
Australians

can't blame em i rembered i decided to play call of duty 2 again clocked it on veteran and i saw production babies and i saw Zamella's kid and i was thinking this must be a ****ing pain having a kid and not having a job and they got fired from the company that they made that pissed me off hopefully they will join a better company (hopefully not EA lol)

benotts
benotts

I am glad to here that these guys got some good solid representation. Its sad that the gaming industry has gotten to the point where devs have to do this. As far as any COD titles go I can already tell you that based on COD:MW2 I have no intention of buying another COD title. As it is I bought AC2 and I really do not like how the anti-piracy was done. It relies to much on online connectivity.

taxonomic
taxonomic

Activision is the new EA. Heck, at least EA owned up to their faults and has been fixing them (No DRM in DA:O or ME2, loosening restrictions on their studios, etc.) but Activision seems to revel in their evilness. I hope Infinity Ward wins the lawsuit and gets to work on their own games again with a publisher who appreciates them.

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

I love all the people saying that they won't buy another Activision game. You know you will come on

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

2010 is probably going to be a rough year for Activision. They have a LOT of damage control to do with the community to convince them that things have changed and make them forget all of the bad press they've received over the past few years. In a way, they are sounding like Toyota. I think Activision will have a hard to time expanding the COD IP into different genres with all the legal issues going on. In fact, I think it will taint the COD name. People who buy COD just because of the name, will buy into these spin-offs and will be severely disappointed. Thus, shrinking the number of sales for any future COD game. Meanwhile, Zampella and West can be contracted to another developer where they have a chance to renew their place in the gaming industry; that is if they win the lawsuit without going completely broke. Don't worry, though. These companies are good at letting us forget. Those of us that follow the gaming industry news will remember, but the general population will forget. Either Activision will fall (not likely with Blizzard) or Activision will "re-invent itself" over the next year or two. In the case of the latter, even the most hardcore will be buying Activision games again... _

Ironfungus
Ironfungus

Both Activision and Infinity Ward can all go to hell. Activision is a talentless cooperation who stamps their name on everything for money, and Infinity Ward is a talentless bunch of con artists who abandoned the PC community long ago. The only Call of Duty that was ever great was the original and its expansion pack, United Offensive. Period.

JimmyZeroL
JimmyZeroL

i wont buy the next call of duty

anime_boi
anime_boi

Everything's going to Hell in a handbasket... hopefully they won't have to deal with Dante's scythe when they (Activision) start to burn for their sins against those two masterminds.

Gammet25
Gammet25

Cold war does sound interesting but the weapons would be so much more crapper. The future of the COD makers hangs in the balance...

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

I will not buy another activision game until this is resolved in infinitywards favor.

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

i hope both Vince and West can make (or join) a studio soon and make game again

Boblehead2008
Boblehead2008

activision is slowly killing the cod brand one game at atime

Saije
Saije

I can't blame these two for wanting to spit in the face of Activision. They basically stole their mind child from them and now they want to gut it for all its worth. I'd bet money that 90% of the "projects" they are working on turn out to be absolute refuse with the CoD tag stamped on it to get less wary or intelligent gamers to throw down good money on garbage. Activision has become the new satan of the gaming industry and they need to be stopped... In a big way.

cyclonebw
cyclonebw

Only $36 million? I think they should put them out of business. Very violently. (legally though)

alpha11gxp
alpha11gxp

Whats really sad is Activision would be out of business if it weren't for these guys even though this game made over a billion dollars they lost almost 300 million. I will not spend one dime on another game by them, Vince Zampella and Jason West will go and make more great games and i will buy them! Activision can go f there self!!!!

Wuflungdung
Wuflungdung

I don't think most of you kids understand what being taken over means in the business world. It just doesn't happen people have to sell their share and property to those willing to takeover, that means infinity ward was a willing seller to activision, they didn't have to, they could have stayed independent, but the greedy bastards wanted quick cash. you'd have to be pretty stupid not to realise what would happen in the future.

undeniablefate
undeniablefate

Activision: It's just been revoked. Activision is a greedy communist who only wants money, not quality and happy consumers. IW should have sued for ALL of activisions money and the rights to their own CoD.

Mercadeo
Mercadeo

gosh... im not buying activision games no more. Infinity wars is cod, im gald this guys find their representation and I really hope they win against activion. Its obvius west and zampella made this really great game and they want to keep that way. But nooo, activisionn wants to makeee moneeeeyyyy, COD MASSIVE ONLINE; COD SIMS; COD GOLF; COD TENNIS;...... so lame, sad and DANGEROUS to the real artists who create the games

Slayerduckie
Slayerduckie

and thats not all. Activision is preparing a COD movie, a tv series, an anime series, cod comic books, cod clothing, cod stickers for ur fridge, cod potato chips, cod snacks, cod beer and soon plans to open a cod fast food chain.

aghost2u
aghost2u

This was just dirty dealing on the part of Activision, Fire the two top people of Infinity Ward for more control of the COD franchise. And Activision making COD a MMOG with Sledgehammer? What's Going to happen to Treyarch after they release the next COD?

theWanderer80
theWanderer80

This is prolly what went down: Bobby the Dick Kotick has all these ideas on how to milk CoD like GH and TH and the IW heads wouldn't have a bar of it. And since in their interim employment contract Activision allegedly gave them the rights to the Modern Warfare name, including getting their approval of any MW content prior to shipping, as well as all games in the franchise set post-Vietnam war, they threatened to take it to another publisher. So what does the Dick do? He takes the rug out from under them so he can "take the fun out" of CoD games. Activision are gonna run another great franchise into the ground. Bobby Kotick needs to get out of the gaming business, he's lost touch with what drives everyone else in the industry. When you put money ahead of creativity you'll end up like the old EA, putting out only rehashes and soulless garbage. The thing is gamers see through this for what it is and that's them being taken advantage of. We're taken for granted and highly underestimated when the Bobby Koticks of the world think they can release sloppily thrown together games under a loved franchise name and think everyone will just fall for it. Never gonna happen! It's time to get rid of Activision. Boycott their cash-ins.

CannedBullets
CannedBullets

You got it wrong, its rumors of Treyarch making a Vietnam game.

Gruug
Gruug

Pretty much done with any CoD games for me. CoD was a love/hate thing anyway...good story/too short....good mulitplay mechanics/small maps and small number of maps. Activision will ruin what is left.

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

Good for them, talented people deserve the best

linkspetdragon
linkspetdragon

@Trogeton - If all these spinoffs end up being good quality and fun to play as CoD is now, I'll call it progress. If it turns into a crapfest of spinoffs to cash in on the CoD name...we'll know they're milking it for all it's worth. I can't blame anyone for jumping on the hater bandwagon at this point, however, going off of past experiences.

Giorgio879
Giorgio879

Activision has pretty much killed the Call of Duty name now, no doubt of that, but I seriously hope these guys win and get to keep the ownership and rights of Modern Warfare and any new IP that they had plans on working on. Infinity Ward should own all the rights over the Modern Warfare name.

TWayne1020
TWayne1020

THESE BIG COMPANYS AND CROOKED LAWYERS are going to run the gaming bussiness out of the country , the way they did with pong and the intellivision. A banker told me on time ,where moneys involved crooks are involved !!! He was 100% right !!!

Trogeton
Trogeton

no sorry but milking is an ignorant term fanboys use to put down a franchise.. it's called progressing.. when a game comes out as a success and they feel the need to make a sequel, that's proving that the game franchise is good at success don't hate on the best ones just cause you don't like them

electroban
electroban

Like guitar hero, they will just milk it untill it becomes unprofittable and cast it aside when it does like some cheap whore. I dont touch CoD games it's like listening to number 1 in the pop charts. It's manufactured sht game with no soul. Created for kids that never played Quake or experienced any old skool shooters so have no contrast. I mean sure, since your target audience has only played Halo before as an FPS im sure CoD must be super.

Sutton
Sutton

Ya know what's coming next? Call of Guitar Hero Duty: Modern Pop Starrzzz. yay...

themovi3nut
themovi3nut

$36 million, "Orwellian" Wow now that's an interesting law suit.

Vengentz
Vengentz

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DFen
DFen

well despite all the hacks and glitches in mw2 I still enjoyed it Im at prestige 9 so yea definitely was fun, but since infinity ward is not working on the other cod games Im not buying I'll continue playing bbc2 and also wait for brink :)

angelcar
angelcar

COD MMO... I see the FAIL tank rolling over the next hill! Hell, anything COD-related that those idiots at Activision come up with will bring the whole FAIL fleet

tbs76
tbs76

They probally got fired for trying to retain some sorta control over THEIR franchise. Obviously Activision has plans to milk the COD name for as much as they can get which is obvious from the fact that they have several delvelopers now working on seperate COD games. There is also speculation going around that Activision wants to take the franchise in a pay to play setup down the road. I love MW games as much as the next guy, but if they start that kinda BS you can count me out. Who really knows why they got let go, but I figure it really had something to do with creative differences. Thats a huge problem for the industry right now, a bad case of sequelitis.

wahyudil
wahyudil

if they win ... their story can be made into hollywood ...

Wuflungdung
Wuflungdung

they shouldnt have sold out to activision in the first place, deserve what they get.