A former Infinity Ward staff member has labelled sacked studio founder Vince Zampella a "visionary" - and claimed that EA has placed a $1 million bounty on his head (strictly in an employment sense, you understand).
According to G4, a recommendation left on Zampella's LinkedIn profile by Jesse Heinig, production coordinator on Call of Duty 2, reads:
"I had the pleasure of working briefly for Vince and seeing his skills first-hand... Vince's history in the game development business should already be legendary. How he, Grant Collier, and Jason West forged Infinity Ward by turning around the talent from a team that was overworked and unhappy with their previous conditions."
Jason West was the fellow co-founder of IW, sacked alongside Zampella in March by Activision, for what the firm called "insubordination".
Grant Collier is also a former president of Infinity Ward, who left to assume a mysterious "special projects" role within Activision.
Heinig's recommendation goes on to say: "How this team proceeded to build one of the most successful and enduring franchises of this generation of video games," he continued. "How the IW studio became synonymous with serious code and good gameplay.
"Vince is one of the few professionals that I'd call a visionary, in the most fundamental sense of the word: He has a powerful vision and he organizes a team to see it through. He's able to juggle different divisions seamlessly, handle high-level meetings and interfaces between the team on the ground and the demands of the production studio, and still keep an eye on the final product."
Hi final claim is perhaps the most eye-opening: "Rumor in the industry is that EA [Electronic Arts] placed a million-dollar bounty for snapping up any IW studio lead, like Vince. Just the fact that the rumor is out there should speak volumes about how badly people want Vince working on their products."
He was referring to widely reported industry rumours that West and Zampella were planning a defection to Activision's biggest rival.
Zampella and West are now suing Activision for wrongful dismissal.