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.
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.