Activision unveils Call of Duty reshuffle

Three more CODs? Plus IW shake-up.

Activision has announced plans to expand the Call of Duty series into new genres, regions and digital formats and confirmed the departure of Jason West and Vince Zampella from Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward.

In addition to a new Call of Duty game from Treyarch this autumn, Activision has said to expect a new game in the COD series in 2011, and said that Sledgehammer Games - the studio set up by EA veterans Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey - is working on a COD game "that will extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre".

(The wording in the release is ambiguous here, however, suggesting that the 2011 title and action-adventure may or may not be the same entity. Judge for yourself: "The company is also for the first time announcing that a new game in the Call of Duty series is expected to be released in 2011 and that Sledgehammer Games, a newly formed, wholly owned studio, is in development on a Call of Duty game that will extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre.")

In order to organise these ventures, Activision is forming a new business unit to bring together "various new brand initiatives with focused, dedicated resources around the world", and specifically promises a Blizzard-style "focus" on the brand, before promising "high-margin digital online content", "new geographies" (including Asia), "new genres", and "new digital business models".

Following a day of speculation and innuendo, in which it appeared that Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella had been removed from the company perhaps over unpaid royalties or secret negotiations, the release perhaps predictably minimises Infinity Ward's involvement.

The studio responsible for Activision's biggest game of last year "is in development on the first two downloadable map packs for Modern Warfare 2 for release in 2010", but beyond that all we are told is Activision veterans Steve Pearce and Steve Ackrich "will lead Infinity Ward on an interim basis".

"Jason West and Vince Zampella are no longer with Infinity Ward," the publisher concluded.

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