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Infinity Ward
Subsidiary of Activision
Industry Computer and video games
Predecessor Neversoft
Founded Encino, Los Angeles (2002)
Headquarters Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, United States
Key people
Todd Alderman
Tina Palacios
Candice Capen
Steve Ackrich
Products Call of Duty series (2003–present)
Owner Activision Blizzard
Parent Activision
Website www.infinityward.com

Infinity Ward is an American video game developer. They developed the video game Call of Duty, along with five other installments in the Call of Duty series. Vince Zampella, Grant Collier, and Jason West established Infinity Ward in 2002 after working at 2015, Inc. previously.[1][2] All of the 22 original team members of Infinity Ward came from the team that had worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault while at 2015, Inc. Activision helped fund Infinity Ward in its early days, buying up 30 percent of the company. The studio's first game, World War II shooter Call of Duty, was released on the PC in 2003. The day after the game was released, Activision snapped up the rest of Infinity Ward, signing employees to long term contracts. Infinity Ward went on to make Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Co-founder Collier left the company in early 2009 to join parent company Activision. In 2010, West and Zampella were fired by Activision for "breaches of contract and insubordination",[3][4] they soon founded a game studio called Respawn Entertainment. On May 3, 2014, Neversoft was merged into Infinity Ward (which included Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Guitar Hero series).[5]


Infinity Ward was founded in 2002.

2010 employee firings and departures[edit]

Dismissal of senior employees[edit]

On March 1, 2010, Activision amended its report with the Securities and Exchange Commission to add notification that two senior employees of Infinity Ward were being fired due to "breaches of contract and insubordination". This coincided with Jason West (Infinity Ward president, game director, co-CCO, and CTO) and Vince Zampella (CEO and co-founder of Infinity Ward) editing their profiles on the website LinkedIn to list Infinity Ward as a former employer as of March 2010. Reportedly, a meeting between Zampella, West, and Activision staff occurred on March 1, after which neither Zampella nor West were seen; this was followed by the arrival of security guards at the studio.[6][7] It was later confirmed by Activision that West and Zampella had been dismissed, and had been replaced on an interim basis by Activision CTO Steve Pearce and head of production Steve Ackrich.[8]

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick addressed Infinity Ward studio heads on March 2, 2010 about Zampella and West's dismissal. A second meeting was held with all of Infinity Ward's employees on hand. The outcomes of those meetings are currently unknown,[9] but Activision has explained that Infinity Ward is still "central" to the future of the Call of Duty franchise. Activision has used a new studio, Sledgehammer Games, to create an "action-adventure" installment of the Call of Duty franchise. However, Activision halted the production of the action-adventure game which was reportedly 2–3 months into production and requested Sledgehammer Games to work side-by-side with Infinity Ward to make Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 instead.

Further departures[edit]

Following West and Zampella's firings, nearly half of the remaining Infinity Ward employees resigned. Throughout April and May 2010, 46 employees, among them lead designers and programmers who worked on Modern Warfare 2, abruptly left Infinity Ward. All of them have so far declined to comment on their reasons for leaving.[10]

Infinity Ward "Fully" Reconstructed[edit]

Vivendi chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy stated that Infinity Ward "got over" their problems and are fully reconstructed and that Activision is very happy with the result. The executive went on to say that there will be three studios working on the Call of Duty franchise including the newly formed studio Sledgehammer Games.[11][12]


West and Zampella v. Activision[edit]

Following the initial news of West and Zampella's departure, it was reported that Infinity Ward has not received royalties from the sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and that the developer may have breached their contract with Activision by holding meetings with other video game publishers including Electronic Arts.[9][13] This was revealed to be the reason behind the firings when West and Zampella filed a lawsuit against Activision on March 4, 2010 over "substantial royalty payments" that Activision failed to pay them in the weeks leading up to their firing. According to their attorney Robert Schwartz, Activision had hired lawyers to investigate West and Zampella on charges of insubordination and breaches of contract in February, which culminated in their dismissal. West and Zampella's lawsuit was filed to force Activision to compensate West and Zampella for the unpaid royalties, and to secure contractual rights over the Modern Warfare branch of the Call of Duty franchise, among other things.[14] If their lawsuit is successful, West and Zampella could retain the power to halt the development and release of any future games and downloadable content in the Modern Warfare setting.[13]

On April 9, 2010 a countersuit was filed by Activision stating their actions in firing Zampella and West were justified, calling the two "self-serving schemers".[15] Zampella and West's attorney responded to the countersuit the same day saying the publisher's claims are "false and outrageous".[16] The trial date for this case was revealed on July 9, 2010 to be scheduled for May 23, 2011 but was rescheduled for December 14, 2011.[17] It was then rescheduled again for March 29, 2012, and further rescheduled for June 1.[18] On March 31, 2012, the two parties agreed to a confidential settlement.[19] The countersuit mentioned that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was in development; it was released on November 8, 2011.[20]

Infinity Ward Employee Group v. Activision[edit]

On April 27, 2010, 38 current and former employees of Infinity Ward brought a lawsuit against Activision. Calling themselves the "Infinity Ward Employee Group" (IWEG), the plaintiffs seek between $75 million and $125 million in compensatory damages from Activision for unpaid bonuses for work on Modern Warfare 2. The lawsuit alleges that Activision withheld compensation from the plaintiffs in order to force them to stay with the studio and develop Modern Warfare 3.[21] In addition, the plaintiffs are also seeking between $75 million and $500 million in punitive damages.[22] The trial date for this case was revealed on July 9, 2010 to be scheduled for May 23, 2011.[23] Activision issued a check for $42 million although an Infinity Ward Employee Group lawyer, Bruce Isaacs, stated that "although it is a meaningful payment it is only a small portion of what we are seeking in litigation".

Lawsuits against EA, West, and Zampella[edit]

Activision amended its lawsuit against West and Zampella to join Electronic Arts (EA) as a defendant on the grounds that EA began a conspiracy with West and Zampella.[24][25] In the complaint, Activision accused Electronic Arts of intentionally interfering with contracts, engaging in unfair competition, and aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty by West and Zampella. The complaint also alleged that West and Zampella refused to sign standard exit documents representing that they had returned all Activision property, including computer code. Activision alleged West and Zampella were "motivated by envy and personal greed" and intentionally released game trailers for Modern Warfare 2 the same day Treyarch posted promotional videos for downloadable content for Call of Duty: World at War. The article also showed a transcript of text message between West and an unnamed Infinity Ward employee.[26] In January 2011, the court will rule on Activision's petition to join EA as a defendant. The trial date between Jason West and Vince Zampella vs. Activision was set for June 14, 2011 at the Central Civil West Courthouse at 9:00 am, case number SC107041.[17] However several delays pushed the court hearing to the May 29, 2012. Due to problems assembling a jury pool the date was pushed back even further to June 1, 2012, with 22 days to reach a conclusion. The public trial did not go through, and instead a private settlement was made.

Respawn Entertainment[edit]

Main article: Respawn Entertainment

On April 12, 2010 the LA Times reported that West and Zampella were forming a new independent gaming studio known as Respawn Entertainment. They are seeking funding from EA through the EA Partners Program. West and Zampella will incorporate the rights to all intellectual property produced by them in the future.[27][28][29] As of July 10, 2010, 38 of the 46 Infinity Ward employees who resigned from that studio following the firings of West and Zampella revealed through their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles that they had signed on with Respawn Entertainment.[10][30] Respawn's first project, Titanfall, was released in March 2014.

Departure of Robert Bowling, 2012[edit]

On March 27, 2012 Robert Bowling issued the following statement on his Twitter account: "Today, I resign from my position as Creative Strategist of Call of Duty, as a lead of Infinity Ward, and as an employee of Activision". In response to this, Activision issued the following statement, "We sincerely thank Robert for his many years of service. He's been a trusted and valued member of the Infinity Ward team. We wish him all the best on his decision to pursue future opportunities".[31] Bowling allegedly left because he was unhappy with the slow evolution of the game, as he responded with "Too much 'pew pew' not enough new new" to a question on the subject.[32]

Signs of disagreement between Bowling and Infinity Ward arose in a live interview with Machinima when he is quoted as saying the following: "I feel like we are in a fucking era where everyone is so focused on subscriber numbers and all that stuff that we need to get back to what I feel like we did so much better in the old days of just plain good will, like stuff like the LAN patch, yeah it is lower priority but let’s get it out the fucking door. Let’s just do it." This could be a contributing factor to his resignation. Another factor could have been from the amount of harsh criticism the fans and players of Modern Warfare 3 gave him when certain aspects of the game occurred such as bugs and tweaks. The community was in such an uproar for treatment on Modern Warfare 3 and the players targeted Bowling since he was the employee who was communicating with the public most of the time.[33]

On June 1, 2012 Robert Bowling announced the development of Human Element, the first project of his newly formed developer, Robotoki.[34]


Infinity Ward's first title, Call of Duty won 90 Game of the Year awards[35] and 50 Editor's Choice Awards.[36][37] It also continues to be among the highest-rated games, according to Game Rankings.[38] Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has also enjoyed massive commercial and critical success, selling over 13 million copies from its release in November 2007 through May 2009.[39]

In 2010, Infinity Ward was ranked third by Develop 100 only running up to developer Nintendo and Bungie for the top 100 developers based on the sales of their games in the UK.[40]

Infinity Ward's sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, earned over $550 million in sales in its first five days on the market, with $310 million of those sales made in the first 24 hours after the game's release.[41]

The sequel to Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, sold 6.5 million copies in the US and UK alone and grossed $400 million within 24 hours of going on sale.[42][43] Despite good sales, the game was criticized for being too similar to its predecessor.

Game engines[edit]

Main article: IW engine

All of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty games use the id Tech 3 (Quake III Arena) engine.[44] The first two games used a proprietary license of the engine with the sequel featuring more powerful visuals and DirectX 9 support. Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare runs on a proprietary game engine (from a version of id Tech 3) with features that include true world-dynamic lighting, HDR lighting effects, dynamic shadows and depth of field.[45] Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and the James Bond video game Quantum of Solace were developed by Treyarch using modified versions of Infinity Ward's engine.[46]

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, uses an upgraded engine dubbed "IW 4.0", which is a generation more advanced than the engine used in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.[47] Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 uses the MW3 Engine, an improved version of the IW 4.0 engine. Improvements on the engine allow better streaming technology which allows larger regions for the game while running at a minimum of 60 frames per second, improvements to the audio of the engine have also been made.[48]


Title Engine Release date Platform(s) Aggregated scores[Note 1]
Call of Duty id Tech 3 October 30, 2003 Windows, Macintosh 91.71%[49]
Call of Duty 2 IW 2.0 October 25, 2005 Windows, Macintosh, Xbox 360 88.61%[50][51]
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare IW 3.0 November 6, 2007 Windows, Macintosh, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii 94.54%[52][53][54]
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 IW 4.0 November 10, 2009 Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 93.39%[55][56][57]
Call of Duty: Classic id Tech 3 December 2, 2009 PlayStation 3 (PSN), Xbox 360 (XBLA) 75.06%[58][59]
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (with Sledgehammer Games) MW3 engine November 8, 2011 Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii 88.64%[60][61][62][63]
Call of Duty: Ghosts IW6[64] November 5, 2013 Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One 74.94%[65][66][67] (excluding Wii U and Xbox One)
  1. ^ Scores are the average of the GameRankings aggregate score received for all platforms.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Modern Warfare Fight: Your Guide to Activision Vs. Infinity Ward". Kotaku. 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  2. ^ "IGN Presents: The History of Call of Duty". IGN. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  3. ^ McElroy, Griffin (May 24, 2012). "Activision v. West and Zampella case pushed back to June 1st". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ Crecente, Brian (March 3, 2013). "Respawn Entertainment co-founder Jason West retires". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ Klepek, Patrick (3 May 2014). "Infinity Ward, Neversoft Merging into Single "Super Studio"". Giant Bomb. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Thorsen, Tor (2010-03-02). "Top Infinity Ward devs fired for 'insubordination,' lawsuits 'expected' - News at GameSpot". Gamespot. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  7. ^ Fahey, Mike (2010-03-03). "Report: Modern Warfare Dev Head Leaves Company". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  8. ^ Gonzalez, Annette (2010-03-02). "Activision's Future Plans For Call Of Duty Call For New Developer - News". GameInformer. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  9. ^ a b Kollar, Phil (2010-03-01). "UPDATE: Infinity Ward Vs. Activision". GameInformer. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  10. ^ a b "Who Remains At Infinity Ward ?". Cynicalsmirk.com. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  11. ^ Tor Thorsen (2010-11-19). "Infinity Ward 'reconstructed' - Vivendi CEO". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  12. ^ Tim Bradshaw (19 November 2010). "Vivendi sees continued success for COD franchise". Barcelona: Financial Times. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Walker, Richard (2010-03-04). "Future Modern Warfare Releases Could Be Vetoed By West and Zampella". Xbox360Achievements. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  14. ^ Reilly, Jim (2010-03-04). "Infinity Ward Founders File Lawsuit Against Activision". IGN. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  15. ^ Reilly, Jim (2010-04-09). "Activision Countersues Former Infinity Ward Execs". IGN. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  16. ^ Reilly, Jim (2010-04-09). "West and Zampella Respond To Countersuit". IGN. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  17. ^ a b "Los Angeles Superior Court - Civil Calendar". Lasuperiorcourt.org. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  18. ^ Rain Anderson (2012-05-25). "Activision vs West/Zampella trial delayed by a few days | That VideoGame Blog - Game news". That VideoGame Blog. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  19. ^ Dutton, Fred (2012-05-31). "Activision vs Zampella & West case settled out of court • News •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  20. ^ Reilly, Jim (2010-04-09). "Modern Warfare 3 In Development". IGN. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  21. ^ Ryckert, Dan (2010-04-27). "Activision Sued By New "Infinity Ward Employee Group"". GameInformer. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  22. ^ Reilly, Jim (2010-04-27). "Infinity Ward Group Sues Activision For Unpaid Bonuses". IGN. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  23. ^ Activision Vs. Infinity Ward Trial Date Set - PS3 News at IGN
  24. ^ Alex Pham (23 December 2010). "Activision sues Electronic Arts, seeks $400 million over Infinity Ward game studio". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  25. ^ Christopher Grant (21 December 2010). "Activision claims EA and former IW execs schemed to 'inflict serious harm on the company'". Joystiq. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  26. ^ Laura A. Seigle (21 December 2010). "Declaration of Laura A. Seigle in support of Activision's motion for leave to amend cross-complaint". Superior Court of the State of California. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  27. ^ Pham, Alex; Ben Fritz (2010-04-12). "Jason West and Vincent Zampella's new call of duty". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  28. ^ Grant, Christopher (2010-04-12). "Respawn Entertainment announced by ex-IW heads, partnering with EA". Joystiq. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  29. ^ Reilly, Jim (2010-04-12). "Infinity Ward Founders Developing A 'Big Blockbuster'". IGN. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  30. ^ "Who Remains at Infinity Ward?". cynicalsmirk.com. 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  31. ^ "Call of Duty's Creative Strategist, Robert Bowling Exits Infinity Ward - Xbox 360 News At". Xbox360achievements.org. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  32. ^ https://twitter.com/fourzerotwo/statuses/234064594170171393
  33. ^ Control, Mission (2012-02-22). "Robert Bowling on classic maps for MW3: Keep classic maps outside of the DLC model". Call Of Duty Map Packs. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  34. ^ Hinkle, David (2012-06-01). "Human Element is Robotoki's first game, slated for 2015". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  35. ^ "Call of Duty". Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  36. ^ "Call of Duty Wins Game Of The Year in the United States". 
  37. ^ "Sales of Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360 Top One Million Units in the U.S.". Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  38. ^ "Call of Duty 2 - X720". Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  39. ^ "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Sells 53 Million". 
  41. ^ http://www.joystiq.com/2009/11/18/activision-modern-warfare-2-earned-550-million-in-first-day/
  42. ^ Mcdonald, Keza (2011-11-11). "Modern Warfare 3 Has Biggest Launch Of Anything Ever". IGN. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  43. ^ Magrino, Tom (2011-11-11). "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sets new launch records". Gamespot. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  44. ^ Modern Warfare 2 PC update: system specs, id Tech and Walmart price
  45. ^ Shea, Cam (2007-06-13). "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare AU Interview". IGN Xbox 360. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  46. ^ Robinson, Andy (2008-06-09). "News:". Computer and Video Games. 
  47. ^ Stead, Chris (2009-07-15). "The 10 Best Game Engines of This Generation". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  48. ^ "needhelponatest comments on IAm Josh Olin, Creative Strategist on Modern Warfare 3 AMA". Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  49. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty". GameRankings. 
  50. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty 2 (PC)". GameRankings. 
  51. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. 
  52. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC)". GameRankings. 
  53. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. 
  54. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3)". GameRankings. 
  55. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PC)". GameRankings. 
  56. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. 
  57. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3)". GameRankings. 
  58. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Classic for PlayStation 3". GameRankings. 
  59. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Classic for Xbox 360". GameRankings. 
  60. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. 
  61. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PlayStation 3)". GameRankings. 
  62. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PC)". GameRankings. 
  63. ^ "GameRankings Reviews: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Wii)". GameRankings. 
  64. ^ Dave Tach. "Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Ghosts and the nameless game engine that powers a first-person shooter phenomenon". Polygon. Retrieved Jun 12, 2013. 
  65. ^ http://www.gamerankings.com/ps3/703505-call-of-duty-ghosts/index.html
  66. ^ http://www.gamerankings.com/xbox360/703504-call-of-duty-ghosts/index.html
  67. ^ http://www.gamerankings.com/pc/703506-call-of-duty-ghosts/index.html

External links[edit]

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