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From Activision Atrocity to Deepening Portal Mystery - News Roundup 2nd March 2010

Jonathan Lester
Activision, ApocalyPS3, Infinity Ward, News, Portal

Modern Warfare Chief Fired for "Insubordination'

From Activision Atrocity to Deepening Portal Mystery - News Roundup 2nd March 2010

Activision has been making some staggeringly brutal and deeply unpopular decisions lately. February alone has heralded studio closures, huge staff layoffs and loyal fan abuse... and it looks like Kotick's publishing juggernaut wants to kick March off with a bang. Multiple sources have reported that Infinity Ward Chief Jason West has been fired- and the entire studio put under lockdown by security guards.

When G4 reported that guards had been posted outside Infinity Ward's headquarters, many gamers assumed that it was just a publicity stunt designed to draw attention away from the US release of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. After all, Infinity Ward insiders did leak breaking news about the situation very quickly. However, West's Facebook and Linkedin profiles soon verified his changed employment status and confirmed that Activison had indeed 'cut off its nose to spite its face'.

At this stage it's difficult to know exactly why West has been given his marching orders. After all, the Modern Warfare franchise is pulling in billions of dollars for Activison. Our only clue is that a recently released Activision Annual Report details a planned HR investigation of "breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward...[that] is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation." Prepare for the rumour mill to kick into overdrive for this one, but my guess would be that West kicked up a fuss about a proposed new WW2 shooter or subscription-based CoD membership. Or just asked for more money.

Whilst I've got plenty of bile to spare for gaming's emergent public enemy number one, Double Fine's Tim Schafer sums up my feelings perfectly:

"Getting mad at Activision for this kind of thing is like getting mad at an ape for throwing feces. It's just how the beast communicates."- Twitter announcement

PS3 Bug Corrects Itself

From Activision Atrocity to Deepening Portal Mystery - News Roundup 2nd March 2010

Millions of original PS3 owners were dismayed, horrified and outraged by yesterday's crippling calendar bug that rendered their consoles practically inoperable. However, the phantom 'leap day' is now over... as is the nightmare. The "ApocalyPS3" has officially ended, folks: it's time to get back into Heavy Rain!

"We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year. Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally."- Official Sony Blog

It's important not to blow this single event out of proportion- though I wonder if there are any other ticking time bombs hidden away in the impenetrable XMB? See you next leap year!

New Portal Achievement Hides Deepening Mystery

From Activision Atrocity to Deepening Portal Mystery - News Roundup 2nd March 2010

A recent Portal patch delivered a seemingly innocuous Steam achievement that rewards gamers for listening to a set of new radio transmissions. However, the strange sounds played by each radio actually hide encoded images which become apparent through the cunning application of stenography. These images, in turn, contain a series of numbers, letters and bizarre imagery- all of which are stamped with the Aperture Science Logo.

The latest development is that the clues have lead intrepid online sleuths to a BBS modem located in Seattle that proffered up a stream of ASCII artwork upon connection. Streamlining this art has produced this epic picture, which seems to contain screenshots and concept art for a new Valve title. Could it be Portal II? Half Life 2 Episode 3? A crossover?!

Actually, it's almost certainly Portal 2- but have a gander at the pictures anyway. Stay tuned to the investigative thread in the Steam forums for the latest revelations! [Steam Forums]

Add a comment 1 comment
Matt Gardner  Mar. 2, 2010 at 19:14

I have so much love for Tim Schafer! I do love how Activision fired him and passed on Brutal Legend, then tried to sue EA for publishing it. Madness.

I doubt very much whether it was simply a publicity stunt. The terms in the document suggest that the two unfortunate victims must have crossed one of the terms of their contract or defied a direct order from the top....such as maybe opting not to rush out DLC for MW2 just to beat Bad Company 2's release date.

This is still all speculation though, and the way the closed ranks around IW suggests we might not know for some time.

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