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New Call of Duty Titles Announced, Fired Devs Sue For Name 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the modern-legal-warfare dept.
eldavojohn writes "Activision has announced new Call of Duty titles while fired Infinity Ward Developer leads Jason West and Vince Zampella sue them for the rights to the name. According to Activision, 'The company intends to expand the Call of Duty brand with the same focus seen in its Blizzard Entertainment business unit. This will include a focus on high-margin digital online content and further[ing] the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models.' Ars opines that Activision is set to over-saturate the market with tons of CoD titles similar to how it expertly brought down Guitar Hero."
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New Call of Duty Titles Announced, Fired Devs Sue For Name

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  • by quantumplacet (1195335) on Friday March 05, 2010 @09:08AM (#31369918)

    Except they weren't a successful studio when they got bought, they were a small studio trying to release their first game. and at the time, activision was not nearly as reviled as they are now. if you're a brand new developer and one of the largest publishers in the world offers to buy you but let you maintain creative control, you don't say no.

  • by twokay (979515) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:39AM (#31370736)
    ..finger.

    I was beginning to think that the IW owners and developers had sold out completely, and if MW2 was any sign of things to come in the COD franchise, it would be hard to argue otherwise.
    But at least this shows that some of them aren't willing to be completely screwed over, and restores some of my faith in the core IW guys.
  • by grapeape (137008) <(moc.rr.ck) (ta) (7epopm)> on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:41AM (#31370764) Homepage

    Thats true if you go back to the recent past but if you go back to the time when IW was purchased, Activision was the less evil of the big 3 (EA, Ubisoft and Activision). In the time since, EA has worked hard to improve its image, taking chances on new IP, taking a more hands off approach with developers, listening to customer feedback, etc. Meanwhile Activision has gutted 7 studios, Radical and Neversoft then they closed Underground Studios, Luxoflux, Shaba Studios and Red Octane. Add in Kotick's public "supposed-misquotes" such as

    "really [reward] profit and nothing else"

    "skepticism, pessimism, and fear" is promoted within the company with the goal of "keeping people focused on the deep depression."

    "The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."

    The big difference now is that back in the day when EA was the most evil, they were buying up rights to game genres (NFL, etc) and rehashing old titles with nothing new to offer. There was really no one person to focus nerd rage at. With activision gamers have their very own Darth Vader...minus the cool costume.

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:47AM (#31371606) Homepage

    Harmonix didn't pick up and go somewhere else, they were fired.

    There was a quote from one of the high ups in the last month, that explained what happened. They purchased Red Octane and got the license to Guitar Hero. They said "Here's this little developer that makes music games that don't sell, if we give the series to a A-list developer, they'll be able to hit it out of the park."

    So they dropped Harmonix, who pioneered the recent music game, was full of musicians, knew what they were doing, and got not one but TWO games to sell in huge boxes taking up tons of shelf space and costing nearly $100... and replaced it with a studio known for driving properties into the ground.

    Harmonix went and innovated some more. They made a full band. They made a game with soul.

    Activision made Guitar Hero 2, with big budget celebrities and extra notes in the charts to make it harder (thus violating the "playing real music" idea).

    But since Guitar Hero had a name at that point (thanks entirely to Harmonix), GH3 sold really well. This happens (see: other Matrix Movies, Star Wars episodes 1-3, etc.).

    I'm rather amazed that someone finally admitted that canning Harmonix may not have been the best move.

  • by Seakip18 (1106315) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:06PM (#31373326) Journal

    Nope. It actually peaked in July 2008 after merging with Blizzard, but had a 2:1 split in September that same year. Currently, it's inline with the rest of studio's performance in the past year.

    Another point:
    Kotick has been CEO of Activision since 1991. He had a benefits package of $20 million, $900K of which is salary and $5 Million in bonus. The rest was stock and options. (source:here [forbes.com] )

    So right now...you've got a CEO who probably has a crap ton of stock, no real passion for the products his company produces and is almost in his 50's. Coupled with is his almost sadistic view on video game making, I wouldn't put it past him to do some internal company manipulation to make his worth higher.

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