Activision believes two senior-level employees of Modern Warfare
developer Infinity Ward may have breached contract and committed insubordination -- and it's conducting an investigation it says will involve "the departure of key personnel" and litigation.
The publisher reveals its staff discord via a new SEC filing -- at the same time widespread consumer media reports point to the sudden departure of studio president Jason West and rumors that co-founder Vince Zampella is out as well.
Rumors began swirling around Infinity Ward with a G4 report
claiming studio brass were no longer seen by staff after a meeting with Activision, and that security personnel may have even arrived at the studio facility, leaving the staff "freaked out."
The report's source also says that a Facebook status purportedly from West stating he is "drinking" and "no longer employed", uncovered by consumer weblog Kotaku
, is genuine. At the same time, West's LinkedIn page
was changed to reflect the apparent end of his work with Infinity Ward.
"The Company is concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward," reads Activision's filing -- specifically, an amendment to its annual report made yesterday.
"This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation," continues the filing. "At present, the Company does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the Company."
The SEC filing doesn't reference anyone at Infinity Ward by name nor confirm widespread media reports that Zampella -- whose LinkedIn profile at press time shows him still employed with Infinity Ward
-- has in fact also left the company.
In January, Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 passed $1 billion
in worldwide retail sales. As fellow Activision studio Treyarch develops the next installment in the nonlinear Call of Duty
franchise, Infinity Ward is believed to be at work on a new IP, part of the terms of its long-term agreement
Gamasutra has contacted relevant parties for comment and will update with any further information we receive. Meanwhile, official sources are remaining mum -- traditionally-vocal Infinity Ward spokesperson Robert Bowling said on his Twitter
he had nothing to say about the situation.
"I should also say, while I appreciate all the calls, tweets, messages and hearing my ringtone a lot, they're in vain--as I have no info," he wrote.