Oh Electronic Arts, how do you always know exactly what to say? From the first days of the Activision/Infinity Ward split, everything surrounding the issue has taken on a very personal nature. Activision wasn’t afraid of making any enemies when they implied that EA had played a role in the events leading up to the legal battle.
When EA was first asked to comment on the lawsuit between Activision and Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West, they politely refused, saying:
“We don’t have the time to comment on the many lawsuits Activision files against its employees and creative partners”
These two groups clearly do not play well together. So when Activision CEO Bobby Kotick stated in a recent interview that EA was “struggling,” and a virtual last resort for talented game developers who have nowhere else to go, EA must have been insulted. So when CVG spoke to an EA spokesperson, they decided to respond:
“Kotick’s relationship with studio talent is well documented in litigation.”
“His company is based on three game franchises – one is a fantastic persistent world he had nothing to do with; one is in steep decline; and the third is in the process of being destroyed by Kotick’s own hubris.”
Make no mistake Ranters, it’s on. EA first reference is most likely World of Warcraft, brainchild and masterpiece of Blizzard, now merged with Activision to form the company as it now stands, Activision Blizzard. Since that property was already well-developed and a smash success by the time the two companies merged in 2008, EA seems to take exception with any claims Kotick may make on he or Activision having anything to do with the game’s success.
The second title in “steep decline” would most likely refer to the Guitar Hero franchise, which experienced great success with the launch of Guitar Hero II. Since the developer behind that game, Harmonix, left the title to develop music game monster Rock Band, the franchise has steadily decreased in popularity with several versions being released one after the other.
The third property in “the process of being destroyed by Kotick’s own hubris” can only refer to the Call of Duty franchise. West and Zampella were heroes of the gaming community for their title, and being fired from the studio after delivering possibly the best in the series left thousands of their fans infuriated. People love to hate a faceless corporation, and Kotick became the face for many to pin the blame on. Kotick’s statements in the same interview do reveal that he had a very personal connection with the events surrounding Zampella and West’s release, so EA clearly feels the blame lies with him.
Frankly, I’m glad to hear EA speak up so soon, and so strongly. Kotick is by no means the heartless monster that some make him out to be, but he is also no angel. To imply that all of his interactions with studios are based in the most altruistic of desires and intentions is a large claim to make, and EA’s opinion that most of his relationship with studios takes place in courtrooms is just as accurate.
Kotick really had no reason to attack EA so vehemently, and in doing so had to realize that he was opening himself up for attacks, and accusations of hypocrisy. But what do you guys think? Will EA’s biting zinger teach Kotick a lesson, or is this just the first trading of blows in a much larger battle?