NEWS - Monday, September 27, 2010

EA Exec, Tim Schafer Responds to Activision CEO

Quotes from an Edge magazine interview with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick have been making the rounds this morning. Now, two of the targets of his comments -- Electronic Arts and Double Fine’s Tim Schafer -- have responded to Activision’s chief executive.
In the interview, Kotick bashed rival publisher EA for, in Kotick’s opinion, not cultivating studios’ cultures, and also suggested that "great people don’t really want to work there." Schafer became involved when Kotick slammed Brutal Legend, saying that it was a good decision by Activision to drop it and that "the game was not a particularly good game..." His negative comments didn’t stop there; Kotick at one point implied that former Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West would "probably have a really hard time ever being productive or successful ever again."

EA has quickly issued a statement striking back. "Kotick’s relationship with studio talent is well-documented in litigation," EA corporate communications VP Jeff Brown said in the statement (via Gamasutra). "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." Brown is referring to World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero, and Call of Duty, respectively.

As for the litigation, Activision sued Double Fine over the rights to Brutal Legend last year. After Activision decided to drop the project, EA moved in to publish the game, prompting Activision to sue. Activision is also in a legal battle with the aforementioned Jason West and Vince Zampella over the events that took place prior to the duo being fired from their positions at Infinity Ward.

Like EA, Tim Schafer (who, it was just revealed today, has been reunited with Ron Gilbert at Double Fine) was also displeased with what Kotick had to say. Earlier this year, Schafer referred to Kotick as a "prick," though he later called the incident an "accident." Regarding Kotick’s comments in the new interview, he said (via Eurogamer), "It’s sad is that instead of just insulting me personally, he goes after the product of my hard-working team -- a group of people he almost put out of work a while back. But what’s even sadder is that it took him two months to think of a comeback."

Things seem to be getting pretty nasty, in particular between EA and Activision. Further statements from both sides could be forthcoming, and that’s without having heard from Respawn Entertainment’s Jason West or Vince Zampella. The one thing you can almost certainly count on: none of the four to five games that Double Fine is working on are likely to be published by Activision.



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