Rumor: Modern Warfare 3 in Time for Christmas 2011

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Everyone's talking about the Activision-Electronic Arts legal kerfuffle, but they'll probably pause when they hear Modern Warfare 3 isn't just underway, it's due out this Christmas. So claims the L.A. Times, in a piece that calls out titles, timeframes, and development studios.

We always knew another modern-something-or-other first-person shooter was inexorable. You don't break shatter sales records then let your IP molder. That, and Black Ops was kind of an unmitigated technical disaster at launch. Activision's probably itching for a chance to redeem itself.

It sounds like Call of Duty development mainstay Infinity Ward is sharing development of the single-player game with recently formed Activision internal studio Sledgehammer Games to get things ready for a November 2011 launch. November's been the traditional launchpad for new Call of Duty games, after the first two in series, which shipped during their respective launch years in late October.

Developer Raven Software is said to be lending a hand with the multiplayer mode. (Remember Raven? The guys responsible for 1993's Shadowcaster, 1995's Hexen, and most recently Singularity?)

The L.A. Times reports that the studio collaboration may be having an adverse impact on future franchise titles. Putting three studios on a single game means two fewer studios to start work on whatever's next.

Activision fired Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella in March 2010 for what the company called "breaches of contract and insubordination." West and Zampella then sued Activision for over $36 million in royalties and damages, alleging wrongful termination and breach of contract. Activision reacted by countersuing, calling West and Zampella "self-serving schemers" and claiming it fired the pair because of "an unlawful pattern and practice of conduct," including an attempt to "steal" the Infinity Ward development studio.

West and Zampella went on to form Respawn Entertainment and signed an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with Electronic Arts in April 2010. Electronic Arts's Medal of Honor franchise occasionally competes with Activision's Call of Duty, like last year, when EA's Medal of Honor reboot went up against Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Ironically, Activision studio Sledgehammer Games was formed by Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, who left Electronic Arts studio Visceral Games last year.

Source: L.A. Times

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