Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick today addressed the controversial firings of Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella.
"The decision to remove the Infinity ward executives was not taken lightly, and was not done to deprive them of their bonuses," Kotick said in a conference call to discuss Activision financial results for the first quarter of the year.
Referring to the detailed cross-complaint Activision filed against West and Zampella last month, Kotick said the pair's conduct forced the company's hand.
"Once you begin to understand what has occured, there was no grey area," he said. "There was no way to retain their services, as talented as they might have been."
Kotick said West and Zameplla's removal was especially difficult because of his personal relationship with both co-founders. "I personally consider both of them friends, and their conduct was a betrayal of that friendship," he said.
Kotick added that he was "obviously upset" about the 35 other employees that have left Infinity Ward since the firings, and admitted "it is likely a few more will leave as well." Despite this exodus, he remained optimistic about the strength of those that remained at the developer.
"The team at Infinity Ward today is comprised of some of the most talented people in the video game industry," Kotick said. Looking forward, he said the developer continues to work on their next unannounced project, and that Activision is "already stengthening the studio with additional talent and financial resources". Seems like a rather odd thing to say if analyst predictions of an impending Infinity Ward closure are true.
Interestingly, Kotick didn't mention the West or Zameplla by name through his remarks, repeatedly referring to them as "the Infinity Ward executives" instead.