“We treat our employees extremely well”, says Activision
Since firing Infinity Ward chiefs Vince Zampella and Jason West in March the company has lost a further ten members of the team, with them expected to reunite with the sacked duo at their new studio, Respawn Entertainment.
The staff can’t be jumping ship because they’re being mistreated because Activision treat their staff “extremely well”, at least according to Tippl.
Tippl’s views are reported on video game website CVG:
“We have an independent studio model that provides them a lot of creative freedom while we take care of the back office stuff so they can focus on making games.
If their games are successful, they are compensated better here than anywhere else. We’ve been paying our talent millions of dollars for their work. Our setup provides a win-win opportunity. We ensure your work will reach a wide audience. Therefore, we have attracted, and we will continue to attract, the top talent in this industry.”
Rewarding you staff well in the pocket clearly equates to treating your staff well for Tippl, and he’s certainly right. Everyone likes to be rewarded financially, but Zampella and West would question whether Tippl is correct in this statement because they claim they were sacked prior to receiving substantial royalties for the company’s most successful game, Modern Warfare 2 – which they created. They certainly don’t feel financially rewarded.
At GDC 2010, game lawyer Tom Buscaglia compared Activision CEO Bobby Kotick to Emperor Palpatine, the ruler of the darkside in Star Wars. Buscaglia said that Kotick was determined to take the “fun out of making video games.”
“At the shareholders meeting earlier in the year, Bobby Kotick said to his shareholders in public, and I know a lot of people heard this, ‘We’re going to take the fun out of making games. These people don’t take this shit seriously. We’re going to make sure that they’re serious about making games.”
Activision may be wealthy, but if they really want to attract the best talent in the industry they might want to work on their darkside image. In the words of Buscaglia, “treat them right. If you won’t do it, somebody else will, and then they’re going to replace you and your big company.”