Tuesday, April 22, 2008

RUMOR: Infinity Ward to Be Sole Wards of COD Franchise

According to an ex-employee of Activision's soon to be defunct Underground studio, Call of Duty 4 developers Infinity Ward (who also developed COD1 and 2) have apparently renegotiated their contract with Activision, giving them sole stewardship over the franchise they created.

Currently, Call of Duty 5 is in development at Call of Duty 3 developer Treyarch and, if this source is to be believed, will be the last Call of Duty game to be developed outside of Infinity Ward. The source claims that Underground was working on a COD spin off game that would be played from a third person perspective rather than the series' traditional first person view and would itself be an annual franchise, resulting in 2 Call of Duty titles every year.

Since the alleged contract renegotiation with Infinity Ward would bar such a title from being published, development was halted and Underground put on notice.

Activision PR has responded to Next-Gen's original story on the matter, outright denying what they call "erroneous information", although they have confirmed that Underground will be shut down by the end of May.

I don't buy Activision's denial for a second though. This sounds like the real deal and the news leaked out before they were ready to spin it. Infinity Ward is now one of the premier developers in the world and Activision knows that Call of Duty is what it is because of them. They need to keep them happy or risk losing what made the franchise successful to begin with.

There has been no word from Infinity Ward on the matter but I wouldn't expect much other than a "We can't comment", out of them at this point anyway.

Expect more on this, as we've surely only seen the tip of the iceberg here.

[Next-Gen via Kotaku]

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