Modern Warfare studio Infinity Ward is still bursting with talent, owner Activision has claimed, despite the spate of high profile departures earlier this year.
Speaking in an interview with IndustryGamers, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg threw his weight behind the troubled studio.
"I will say that the Infinity Ward that I'm meeting with today is one of the most talented developers in the world," he claimed.
"There's still a lot of talent and a lot of vision inside that studio, and if I had just woken up from a coma and never read a press release about Infinity Ward and just gone to my meetings with them, I would have walked out and said, 'those guys are the real deal'."
Activision was left with a huge clean-up job after the sacking of studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella in March. The two Infinity Ward founders duly set up a new outfit with EA, called Respawn Entertainment, and poached a number of key staff from their former employers.
Elsewhere in the interview, not wanting to make any of the wider Call of Duty family feel left out, Hirshberg was also effusive with his praise of Black Ops developer Treyarch.
"Treyarch is of course going to remain a centerpiece of our efforts on Call of Duty, and they have been. From the beginning, they've been contributing," he said.
"I think that they've broke through to another level with this game. I think that they really just put their head down, tuned out the noise, and got to a pretty elite level in terms of the game that they've delivered here.
"They will, of course, figure prominently into our future plans and management of the franchise."
If rumours are to be believed, the next Call of Duty game will be set in space and be developed by Sledgehammer Games, the studio set up by Dead Space creator Glen Schofield.