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Six months ago, Infinity Ward released Modern Warfare 2 to record-breaking sales and rave reviews. Now Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey believes they're on the verge of shutting down.
"Continued defections from [Activision's] Infinity Ward studio have created meaningful uncertainty around the future of their Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise," said Hickey (via Gamasutra). "We expect Infinity Ward studio will be essentially closed after their next map pack release, with development work on Modern Warfare 3 spread between two studios not historically tied to the franchise."
The "two studios not historically tied to the franchise" would probably be Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games. While Treyarch has developed Call of Duty games in the past, the Modern Warfare subset has been the work of Infinity Ward. Sledgehammer Games is currently developing their first CoD project, an "action-adventure", for a 2011 release.
Activision fired Jason West and Vince Zampella, the heads of IW, in March. Since then a number of other IW employees have left. The ousted execs and a group of former/current IW employees filed two separate lawsuits against Activision, alleging the publisher withheld royalties from MW2's sales.