After departing Infinity Ward in 2010, Call of Duty lead designer Todd Alderman is returning to the studio behind Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, the Modern Warfare trilogy, and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Alderman left Infinity Ward under less than amicable circumstances following controversy surrounding development work on Modern Warfare 2, but is returning as Infinity Ward's new multiplayer project director.
Alderman, who was the lead designer of games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, was in the group of employees that sued Activision for between $ 75 million and $ 125 million for unpaid work on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in 2010. Alderman joined fellow Infinity Ward alumni Jason West and Vince Zampella at Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment as lead game designer before departing the team in 2012. Alderman also spent time at League of Legends studio Riot Games as a game designer.
Activision confirmed to us that Alderman has returned, and provided us the following prepared statement from Infinity Ward studio head, Dave Stohl:
“This is about hiring the best talent for the right position. Todd’s accomplishments speak for themselves. We’re happy to have him lead multiplayer development here at Infinity Ward as well as provide a level of leadership across the entire studio team. Following last year’s combination with Neversoft, we’ve continued to add some great talent throughout the studio. As we focus on the future, there’s a real sense of energy that has us all excited about what’s to come.”
Activision has also confirmed to us that executive producer Mark Rubin left Infinity Ward late last year to pursue other interests outside of the game industry. Rubin worked on several Call of Duty titles during his time with Infinity Ward, including entries in the Modern Warfare trilogy. Most recently, Rubin worked on Call of Duty: Ghosts, which we spoke to him about during the lead-up to that game. You can check out that conversation, which touches on the industry's drive to create triple-A entertainment, below.
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The Alderman hire and Rubin departure are the latest in a flurry of moves happening at the studio, which includes adding narrative design lead Taylor Kurosaki and lead game designer Jason Minkoff, both formerly of Naughty Dog, and principal rendering engineer Michal Drobot, who worked as 3D programmer on Far Cry 4. Infinity Ward also added the team at Neversoft following the merging of the two studios.
Alderman certainly has a track record of producing quality products. After Call of Duty: Ghosts left a lot of fans feeling less than enthused about Infinity Ward's future with the franchise, it's good to see the studio making strides to get the right team working on its next title. Combine that with the fact that the Call of Duty franchise has moved from two-year development cycles to a three-year cycles with the inclusion of Sledgehammer Games, and this could lead to great results. While losing Rubin from the team is unfortunate, it sounds like he is ready to take on new challenges away from video games.