John Riccitiello believes that EA, not Black Ops studio Treyarch, could be the developer to pick up where Infinity Ward left off and deliver "the next great FPS".
Speaking in an interview with IndustryGamers, Riccitiello claimed that Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops was a long way from matching Infinity Ward's work on the Modern Warfare series.
"I don't know that having two guys that probably don't play the games, in the form of the CEO of Vivendi and the CEO of Activision, come out and say 'Treyarch is our lead developer,' like you could anoint that," he said.
"They didn't make a 90-rated game; I think it's 86 now. I don't think review scores are the be-all and end-all, but we all know a mid-90 when we see it, but this was mid-80s. I don't think you could anoint them by an executive saying: 'It's so.'"
"The question, I think, really is: 'What developer is going to put forward the next great FPS that sort of follows [what Infinity Ward did]?' It's wishful thinking, and let's hope for Activision's sake they're right.
"I think it's far from proven that the gaming consumer views a product from Treyarch in the same category as a product from what was Infinity Ward."
Elsewhere in the interview, Riccitiello insisted that, though it wouldn't happen over night, EA was well on its way to its stated goal of taking back the shooter category from Activision.
"Activision will do 25 million on the tail of last year's Modern Warfare 2 and the start of this year's Black Ops, and then probably something similar next year. But it took them, what, five or six editions to get into double digit millions?" he asked.
"This management team started with this goal really two and a half years ago and our first entry really was Battlefield: Bad Company, and you'll see a lot about Battlefield 3 next year, which I think is, at least from our perspective, designed to be the one that is the big leap forward; the one that is going to help a lot."
"Next year we'll make a lot more progress. We've got a couple of third-party games in the form of Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm, and then our big focus is Battlefield 3 in the second half of the year. I'd be shocked if we didn't take a notch out of [Activision]."