Kotick: Finding success again won’t be easy for West, Zampella

Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampella’s next, EA-backed game will have a hard time finding success, implies the pair’s former boss man Bobby Kotick; chatting with Edge in an extensive interview, the Activision CEO says the fired Infinity Ward heads are likely to have “a really hard time ever being productive or successful ever again.”

In the piece, the executive also voices his disbelief and frustration, saying he was “betrayed” by those he considered friends: “…the stuff that these guys did, I never would have expected them to do,” he said. “We’re a public company, we’ve got ethics obligations, and the things they did were… I would go to jail if I did them.”

He elaborates: “You can’t use the company and the company’s assets for your own personal benefit, and you can’t use the leverage that you might have for personal benefit – you’re not allowed to do that! And so we didn’t have any choice.”

West and Zampella have made their fair share of allegations as well.

The firings, which occurred this March, brought on expected consequences as far as the Call of Duty studio is concerned; Kotick says he knew full well that he was going to lose more than just two people: “When we bought the company, they were 20 or 30 guys – these were guys that shared vacation homes together, they were all best friends, they were at each other’s weddings. We knew that when we had to fire Jason and Vince we were going to lose a lot of really talented people.”

“That’s one of those really difficult decisions as the CEO of a company, where you step back and say, ‘No good is going to come of this. They’re going to leave and probably have a really hard time ever being productive or successful ever again, and we’re going to lose some talented people, and there’s nothing we can do about it.’ And there wasn’t.”

But Infinity Ward lives on. Since the firings, Activision has received “something like 5,000 resumes” for the available positions, Kotick notes, “so it’s not like there’s a shortage of interest in working there.”