Let's step into the way back machine. The year is 2009 and Infinity Ward has just finished working on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The first Modern Warfare was a huge success, and the follow-up looks to do gangbusters business-wise. Then suddenly Activision fires Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella. The Infinity Ward staff didn't take the news well seeing as how the two leaders were well-liked within the studio.
“Jason and Vince just got fired!” came the announcement from another passing member of the staff. "What the fuck?... Why?" Sandler said.
"The only thing clear at that time was that Jason and Vince had been blindsided and fired for “insubordination”, after a series of executive-level meetings, before Activision security guards showed up at the studio to make sure they could not come back inside," Sandler continues in his post.
Activision higher-ups called an emergency meeting in the Infinity Ward kitchen area. Many Infinity Ward staff were talking about leaving due to the firings. Sandler paraphrases the next words out of the mouths of the Activision execs.
“Guys, if you stay with the studio to make Modern Warfare 3, you will receive your MW2 bonuses. AND we will also give everyone a fifty percent salary increase”. He paused slightly before repeating: “That is a five and a zero, fifty percent”.
The executive spoke again: “Look, I get it. I know this is a tough situation. But, just take the money and get over it.” Sandler specifically remembers him telling the Infinity Ward staff to “Get over it”. Sandler doesn't name names in his post, but another former Infinity Ward staffer wasn't so shy about doing so in the comments of Sandler's post. Brent McLeon commented, "That gem came from Thomas Tippl. He's still their CFO". (Editor's Note: According to Tippl's own LinkedIn, he's actually the Vice Chariman currently, taking the role in 2017.)
Over the next several days and weeks, around 40% of the staff wound up leaving the studio according to Sandler.
The post continues: "A meeting with an accomplished attorney was organized over the lack of bonus pay situation. Most of the people who quit were there, as well as some still employed with Infinity Ward who were undecided on the path forward. I was one of those undecided, thinking about the ramifications of a long-lasting legal trial and the uncertainty that comes with that and other things. But, that is a story for another article".
About the Author
Troy “Noobfridge” Blackburn has been reporting on the video game industry for over a decade. Whether it’s news, editorials, gameplay videos, or streams, Noobfridge never fails to present his honest opinion whether those hot takes prove to be popular or not.More Stories by Troy Blackburn