Robert Bowling Fired/Quit Over Wanting To Give Gamers Free DLC?

Earlier today Robert Bowling made it known that he is longer employed over at the Activision Blizzard camp under their Infinity Ward development studio. The former creative strategist for the Call of Duty games let it be known that he is a free agent and Activision verified the comments in a curt press statement.

Interestingly enough, just a month earlier Bowling was in a live-stream interview with Machinma [via Call of Duty Map Packs] where he poured out his heart with a lot of truth and honesty not as a PR spokesman or a corporate "Yes man", but as a gamer and dedicated member to the gaming community, saying... is my philosophy on throw back maps: Old school maps, I love maps like that, I wanna see creek, I wanna see overgrown, I wanna see crossfire, I wanna see highrise.So my mentality on it is if you are going to do throw back maps, if you are going to do classic maps, keep it outside of the DLC model. Like for DLC, if you are paying for stuff and it’s included in your subscription, it should all be new content. ‘Give me something new I’ve never seen before’ and that’s not something we’ve done in the past before we’ve included in traditional map packs.

That makes complete sense. Let's also not forget that recycled assets do not have a separate DLC budget, keep in mind that it's just a matter of copying, pasting and tweaking (usually lighting and some geometry discrepancies). Paying for copy and paste jobs out of a sense of nostalgia is almost but not quite as bad as disc-locked content. Bowling further goes on to defend this position, saying...

...since our DLC model is so different, I feel like we have a flexibility to let DLC be focused on all new content, brand new stuff you’ve never seen before in the game or any game.And if we want to do a throwback map, let that be outside the DLC model, let it be free, let it be to everyone. Don’t let it be restricted by contracts and partnerships and all that f*cking money stuff. Let it just be there.So that’s what I think.

Haha, Bowling doesn't understand (or chooses to ignore) that the AAA gaming industry publishing model has nothing whatsoever to do with video games. Anyone who believes Activision, EA or Capcom publishes games because they're gamers and love the interactive entertainment experience needs to think again. They're run by businessmen and investors; these are companies that spend large sums of money figuring out how to make large sums of money, it has nothing to do with creative ingenuity, originality or embracing the dynamic art of video game design. They aren't gamers.

With all that said, Bowling is talking on behalf of a company that makes billions each year ($4.7 billion to be exact) recycling assets and materials and charging extra for recycling even older assets and materials. Plain and simple, Activision would never allow for free maps to be given away when they know they could charge $10 for two old maps and make millions. It's smart business even if it's a slap in the face to the gaming community.

Nevertheless, if Robert Bowling's philosophy about free DLC and putting the gaming experience first over business is legit, then it doesn't take a genius to see how he's no longer employed at Infinity Ward.

The company still has a nice cache of premium DLC rolling out, including the new Modern Warfare Collection Pack, amongst other DLC planned for release throughout the year leading up to the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Free DLC certainly wouldn't hurt their momentum, but that's not Activision's motto.

Of course, we won't know if that's the actual cause for one of the most enthusiastic promoters for Call of Duty stepping down from his position until either Activision releases further details about Bowling's departure (which is highly doubtful) or Bowling himself decides to flesh out the specifics at a later date.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.