Tag Archives: Infinity Ward

Rumor: Modern Warfare 3 Will Be a Ghost-Centric Prequel

According to the UK edition of Official Playstation Magazine, the next Call of Duty game, “Modern Warfare 3”, will actually be a MW prequel to the series revolving around supporting character Ghost.  Fans of the series have been clamoring for more of Ghost since MW2, and rumors of a spin-off or prequel starring Ghost began circulating since January.  In their rumors section, OPMUK mentions “insider whispers” alleging that; “Infinity Ward’s next Modern Warfare title will be a prequel, with Ghost in the lead role.”
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Modern Warfare 2: Surplus Pack Screenshots

So by now you may have heard that Activision plans to release a second set of “Modern Warfare 2” maps.  The “Surplus,” like it’s predecessor, the “Stimulus” Pack, features five new maps – three original maps and two updated versions of maps from the original “Modern Warfare.”  The map pack will run you 15 bucks, (1200 MS points) also just like the original.  Can’t wait?  Well, here are a few images showing off the maps for you to drool over until the DLC is released on Xbox Live on June 3rd.

Unfortunately for those of us playing MW2 on PS3 or PC, the wait is a little longer.  Due to an exclusivity agreement between Activision and Microsoft, “Surplus” won’t be released for PS3 or PC users right away.  Assuming the agreement is similar to the one made for “Stimulus”, PS3 and PC gamers should expect to get their hands on “Surplus” until early to mid July:  “Stimulus” was exclusively available on Xbox Live for 34 days before being released for other forms of download.

As for the maps themselves – Activision is bringing back “Strike” and “Vacant” from MW, and adding three new and decidedly unorthodox locations for the originals.  The names “Carnival” and “Trailer Park” pretty much speak for themselves, don’t you think?  The last map, “Fuel”, well it isn’t actually so unorthodox – it’s set on an oil rig.  Woo Hoo.

“Carnival”

“Fuel”

“Strike”

“Trailer Park”

“Vacant”

Bungie and Activision Sign 10-Year Publishing Contract

Halo developer Bungie had made it quite clear in recent months that Halo: Reach would be the last game in the Halo franchise for the foreseeable future.

If you didn’t believe them…  Well, now you have proof.

Bungie has agreed to give Activision-Blizzard exclusive publishing rights to all games the studio develops for the next ten years.  Though the terms of the deal were not fully disclosed, The agreement seems to revolve around the establishment of a single AAA franchise, to be published across multiple platforms; “Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on the new intellectual property on multiple platforms and device.”  It was also made explicitly clear that the deal calls for a “partnership”, rather than a merger or aquisition:  Bungie will remain completely independent and retain complete creative control of their projects.  When asked why they chose to work with Activision, Bungie president Harold Ryan said that the studio was looking for a producer with “global reach” and experience publishing games on multiple platforms.  If nothing else, Activision has both of those things in spades.

The question everyone’s asking now is; “What is the new IP”?  No one knows, but according to Activision COO Thomas Tppl,”Bungie has been working on this project for awhile.”  Bungie staff are keeping tight-lipped about everything not Halo: Reach related, but have indicated that the series will be something completely new (Sorry Marathon fans), it will be big and it may or may not be a shooter.  When asked what genre this new series would fall into during an interview with Kotaku, Bungie Community Manager Brian Jerrard said; “Looking back on our pedigree we’ll definitely be building on the strengths that have helped Bungie to get where we are today.”  Technically, that could mean a lot of things:  Realistically, it means the game is going to be an FPS.  Meanwhile, other rumors are already surfacing, such as the idea that the new series may be subscription-based, but both companies are keeping quiet about what’s in store.

On a different front, this news only strengthens recent the likelihood that Activision will seek to dissolve Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward, which has been the cause of series of problems for them in recent months.  With a strong new franchise from Bungie, there seems little reason to keep the studio open, seeing as it is a shadow of what created the most-successful game of all time.

Games For Thought will keep you posted as details of the deal and the new franchise arise.  Given that the series is already being developed, it’s totally possible that we get a little taste – or at least a name – during E3 this June.

UPDATE:  Remember what I said about the possibility of getting more info about Bungie’s new series at E3?  Well, apparently it ain’t gonna happen.  Bungie community manager Brian Jerrard, speaking with Edge this time, says that there will be absolutely no new information about the project this year’s show.  Jerrard emphasized the fact that Bungie is still working on Halo: Reach, which won’t actually be finished until this fall.

Rumor: Activision to Dissolve Infinity Ward After Next MW2 Map Pack

In an interview with CVG, Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey predicted that Activision will shut down “Modern Warfare” developer Infinity Ward after the launch of the second “Modern Warfare 2” map pack.  Infinity Ward – a subsidiary of Activision – has been at the center of a major industry scandal, beginning with Activision firing the team’s creative leaders, Jason West and Vince Zampella.  Since then, approximately a quarter of the 100-man development team have left the studio, many of them leaving to join West and Zampella’s new EA-Sponsored studio, Respawn Entertainment.  Between that and a pair of lawsuits aimed at them, one from West and Zampella and another from Infinity Ward’s employees, it would come as no surprise if Activision decided that cutting their losses was the prudent decision.

Hickey predicted that Activision will divide the development of “Modern Warfare 3” between multiple studios.  Though he didn’t mention the non Modern Warfare Call of Duty developers Treyarch and Sledgehammer, they are certainly the likely candidates.  Then again, looking at Treyarch’s track record, let’s hope Activision decides to hand their flagship series over to more… prestigious developers.

Jason West and Vince Zampella Form Respawn Entertainment

Modern Warfare fans were confused and upset they heard  when Activision bounced developer Infinity Ward’s creative leaders, Jason West and Vince Zampella in March.  Now, while still handling two lawsuits with their former employers, West and Zampella have announced the creation of their new studio, “Respawn Entertainment.”  Currently, the firm has no concrete project, but West says the project is going to like a “Summer Blockbuster”.  The duo also announced that Respawn has agreed to join the “EA Partners” program, giving EA exclusive rights to produce and distribute their projects.  EA has also disclosed that they have supported Respawn with “several million dollars” in seed money.

Other than that, very little is publicly known about Respawn.  For example, the studio’s Website is a blank page with the name and an e-mail for sending job applications; even with the presumed addition of two high-level Infinity Ward walkouts, lead designer Todd Alderman and lead software engineer Francesco Gigliotti, the company is still looking to build a new design team, which means designers, artists, programmers and so on.

That’s it for now, but there will undoubtedly more on Respawn, Infinity Ward and Activision in the future

UPDATE:  Two more members of the Infinity Ward team announced their resignations from the studio tonight.  Veteran programmer Jon Shiring and lead designer/writer Mackey McCandlish both said they said were leaving the studio.  Shiring worked at Infinity Ward for almost six years, McCandish was with the studio for eight; That’s 14 years between the two of them.

Clearly, this is not a coincidence.

Rome is Burning: Will the Infinity Ward Scandal Ruin Modern Warfare?

This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster for “Modern Warfare” fans.  First, a confusing security “incident” on Monday at the offices of developer Infinity Ward ended with rumors that Infinity Ward masterminds Vince Zampella and Jason West leaving the company they built up.  As things began to settle, Call of Duty producer Activision announced that they had, in fact, fired the two for “insubordination”:  By Activision’s account, West and Zampella were in breach of their contracts when they, according BingeGamer, contacted other producers about working on a new non-COD game.  The next day, West and Zampella fired back, announcing that they will be suing Activision for the rights to the “Modern Warfare” franchise.  The dejected developers said they were fired after a biased investigation by the company that wanted the two out after years of conflict and the studio’s desire to work on other projects before developing “Modern Warfare 3”.

The question is now; how will this scandal affect the future of the “Modern Warfare” series?

Truthfully, the falling out may very well kill the series.  Assuming that Activision produces the next Modern Warfare title, they’ll be forced to fully re-evaluate the series for the first time since it’s inception.  West and Zampella were the creative forces behind the most successful entries in the Call of Duty series; Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2.  (Plus, before forming Infinity Ward the duo oversaw development of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, which was easily the best game in the series.)  Meanwhile, other COD games, made by alternative developer Treyarch, have been well-made but are generally based on the Infinity Ward games:  (If you don’t believe me, play COD 2 to the end and then start COD3; it feels more like an expansion pack then a separate game.)  Rumors have already begun swirling about whether the current IW team will co-operate with Activision for MW3.  It’s safe to assume that West and Zampella will start a new firm, giving the rest of the team reason to walk away.

There is still plenty of room for failure, however, if Zampella and West somehow win the rights to “Modern Warfare”.  While it is definitely the better option for gamers, the disruption from the lawsuit, the transfer from company to company and the influence of another producer would all effect the game in some way.  That’s not to say that those changes would be bad, but such drastic environmental changes will have some kind of effect on the game.  Ultimately though, the biggest issue with Modern Warfare 3 as imagined by West and Zampella is that, between the lawsuit and the actual development, it would take at least five years for the game to be made, probably more.

So what can we do, as gamers, to make sure that the Modern Warfare series remains the gold standard of the FPS genre?  Absolutely nothing.  All gamers can do is play, which is fine.  It’s what we want to do.  For now, the best indicator of how the series will fare will be Treyarch’s upcoming entry in the series.  The new game is looking to distinguish itself, at least in terms of its story, by setting the game in Vietnam.  Maybe the developer will step up to play and make a game that features original mechanics to match its new localé, maybe it won’t.  The main point we can take away from this series of events is that, for better or worse, Infinity Ward, and by extension the COD series, will never be the same.