Analyst: "We expect Infinity Ward studio will be essentially closed"

The troubled Infinity Ward studio, responsible for the massively popular Call of Duty Modern Warfare franchise, could be shut down by Activision once the second Modern Warfare 2 map pack is completed, at least according to Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey.

"Continued defections from their Infinity Ward studio have created meaningful uncertainty around the future of their Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise," Hickey wrote in an investor note, as reported by CVG.

"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," he said, likely referring to Treyarch and Sledgehammer who have both been connected with developing future Call of Duty titles.

Such a move is possible with many of Infinity Ward's top staff members believed to have left the studio since March. While a few have gone to other studios, most of the staff appear to have ended up at EA-backed Respawn Entertainment, which was founded by ex-Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella.

Last week, former and current Infinity Ward employees filed a $125 million lawsuit against publisher Activision over alleged unpaid royalty and bonus payments.

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