Four more ex-Infinity Warders Respawn as exodus grows to 26

At least nine members of Modern Warfare 2 team now at former bosses' indie studio; reports say 13 artists, engineers, designers, and HR recruiters left studio in past five days.

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Two weeks ago, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said that Infinity Ward could lose up to 31 employees and still make a "competitive product." Now, according to gaming blog Kotaku, the number of resignations from the studio following Activision's firing of founders Jason West and Vince Zampella in March stands at 26--just five short of Pachter's magic number. Of those, 13 staffers have reportedly submitted resignations in just the past five days.

The Infinity Ward exodus appears to be accelerating.
The Infinity Ward exodus appears to be accelerating.

The LinkedIn profiles of four of the 13 show that they have joined West and Zampella at their new independent studio, Respawn Entertainment. Senior software engineer Chris Lambert, senior level designer Jason McCord, senior artist Ryan Lastimosa, and game designer Brent McLeod are now officially employed by the studio, which is setting up shop in the same area of Los Angeles as Infinity Ward.

The quartet joins top members of the Modern Warfare 2 team already at Respawn, which is being bankrolled by Electronic Arts as an advance on revenues from its first game, to be published under the EA Partners program. Lead designer Todd Alderman, lead software engineer Francesco Gigliotti, lead environment artist Chris Cherubini, lead animator John Paul Messerly, and lead animator Mark Grigsby all got on board the startup in the two weeks after West and Zampella announced its existence.

LinkedIn profiles also confirm six more now-ex-Infinity Ward employees as no longer being with the company. Senior artist Brad Allen, software engineer Robert Field, veteran designer Preston Glenn, designer Chad Grenier, and Mohammad Alavi all now list their Infinity Ward employment as ending in April 2010. They were preceded out the door by the final Modern Warfare 2 lead designers a fortnight ago.

The last confirmed departure may prove one of the most troublesome for Activision in its efforts to stem the Infinity Ward exodus. Kristin Cotterell, who oversaw "all HR and recruiting for Infinity Ward," including the hiring in "all departments including art, animation, design, software engineering, admin, and production," has also left the studio. In an interview with GameSpot earlier this month, West and Zampella said that their immediate focus was to build up a team as quickly as possible--a task that Cotterell would be ideally suited for.

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