As fired Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella confirmed the founding of their new studio Respawn Entertainment, former parent Activision said Infinity Ward is still a viable studio, even without the two former heads.
Respawn's first major agreement is a publishing deal with Activision rival Electronic Arts. "This agreement comes as no surprise to Activision given the myriad of improper activities detailed in the cross-complaint filed on Friday against Jason West and Vince Zampella," Activision told Gamasutra in a statement.
The company added, "We look forward to continuing to work with Infinity Wardís deep bench of proven talent on exciting new projects."
While there is speculation that Infinity Ward members could migrate to Respawn, Zampella told Gamasutra in an interview Monday that the studio is "just kicking off the hiring now, and we'll reveal the teammates in the future." Infinity Ward lead designer Todd Alderman and lead software engineer Francesco Gigliotti also reportedly left the studio recently.
Analysts have voiced the possibility that loss of key talent could hurt future installments of the lucrative Call of Duty business, but Activision's rising share prices suggest that investors are unconcerned.
Activision fired West and Zampella just months after the release of November's hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, accusing the two of offenses including insubordination. The pair then sued Activision for $36 million over the firing, and last week, Activision countersued, calling West and Zampella "schemers" that were in cahoots with the publisher's biggest rival, EA.