"Approximately thirty-five others" have left Call of Duty series creator and Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward since owner Activision fired the studio's two lead executives, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said today, with more expected to follow.
"It is likely a few more people will leave as well," Kotick explained during a conference call with investors. "Many of these people have been recruited by other studios because of how talented they are. We are obviously disappointed about this, and we wish we could have convinced some of these incredibly talented people to stay."
"The team at Infinity Ward today is comprised of some of the most talented people in the video game industry," he added. "They are an incredibly well-respected group who are motivated and obviously extraordinarily capable."
Infinity Ward co-founders Vince Zampella and Jason West were fired from the company in March 2010 due to "breaches of contract and insubordination." Since then, the duo have filed a lawsuit against Activision, alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrong termination in violation of public policy,"
Activision quickly fired back, labeling the lawsuit as meritless and then counter-suing, after which the duo announced the formation of their new development studio Respawn Entertainment and a publishing partnership with Activision rival Electronic Arts.
Meanwhile, at Infinity Ward, numerous veterans of the company were leaving, some to join Zampella and West at Respawn, with the drama escalating further when a group of thirty-eight Infinity Ward employees--some current, some former--levied their own lawsuit against Activision over unpaid royalties and compensatory damages.
Speaking on the situation today, Kotick said the decision "to terminate the two Infinity Ward executives was not done lightly and it was not done to deprive them of their bonuses, nor was it done without a great deal of deliberation about the consequences."
"We felt we had no choice but to terminate the two Infinity Ward executives," he continued. "We did this to protect the company's assets and the interest of our shareholders. I personally consider the two of them friends, and their conduct was a comprise of our friendship, which is equally disappointing. Once we began to understand what had occurred, there was no grey area. There was nothing that would have allowed us to retain their services, as talented as they might have been."
"This is an example of our commitment to pursuing the difficult right, rather than the easier wrong," Kotick concluded. "Our actions were firmly rooted in our long-standing values of integrity and an expectation that our employees, who signed and acknowledged our code of conduct, will behave with the highest ethical standards."
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