Infinity Ward president Jason West and studio head Vince Zampella appear to have been sacked by the studio's owner Activision amid dramatic scenes and claims of breach of contract and insubordination.
G4 reported late yesterday that "bouncer-type" security had showed up at the offices of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developer following a meeting between the two studio heads and Activision, and that West and Zampella hadn't been seen by staff since.
G4 then turned up a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Activision earlier in the day indicating that the publisher was investigating senior staff at Infinity Ward, and expecting to sack and sue them.
"The Company is concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward," the filing read. "This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation."
Meanwhile, Kotaku turned up a Facebook status update from West that read, "Jason West is drinking. Also, no longer employed." His profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn also appeared to have been updated, showing his role as "President/Game Director/CCO/CTO at Infinity Ward" as a "Past" employment.
Zampella's status at the moment is unclear. Neither Activision or Infinity Ward has offered an official comment as yet. Infinity Ward's vocal spokesman Robert Bowling simply said "I have no info" on his Twitter.
Zampella and West were among the founding members of Infinity Ward who had previously worked on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for EA. At their new studio, they created the immensely successful Call of Duty series of first-person shooters for Activision and continued to develop key entries in the series, culminating in the recent smash hits Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2.
West is credited as the director of Modern Warfare 2, which was 2009's best-selling game worldwide and which racked up a billion dollars of sales in two months.
Game creator Tim Schafer, whose Brutal Legend was dropped by Activision before being picked up by EA, commented on his Twitter: "Getting mad at Activision for this kind of thing is like getting mad at an ape for throwing feces. It's just how the beast communicates."