A few people here have pointed out that the studios in question have had layoffs in the not too distant past. Instead of just bashing or defending Activision, let us take a look at the studios that have come to Activision's defense.
High Moon Studios: Have 2 decent-ish third person shooters under their belt, as well as one movie tie-in and one port. Upcoming project: Transformers movie tie-in. Their only distinction: having made the Transformers game that sucked the least.
Vicarious Visions: As far as I can tell, developed 3 original IPs, only one of which, Terminus, ever received any recognition. This was back in 2000. Primarily known as producers of shovelware for the Game Boy. Have ported countless IPs and console games to portable platforms and secondary platforms (such as the Wii and the PS2 in its later days). Most recent title developed for flagship platform: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.
Raven Software: Arguably the strongest pedigree of the three. Founded in 1990, acquired in 1997; most of the original talent departed the studio at time of acquisition. Early Activision Works: Soldier of Fortune series and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. While they didn't set the world on fire, both series were well-received. Developed fantastic Jedi Outcast and decent Jedi Academy in partnership with LucasArts. Proceeded to create the rough yet underrated X-Men Legends and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series, as well as an excellent entry in the Quake series. Recent works: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Wolfenstein, and Singularity; all mediocre but decent titles, all of them disappointing commercially. Relatively recent mass layoffs. Current project: Call of Duty DLC, rumored to be next Call of Duty.
So there you have it. A novice studio enamored with Transformers, a middle-aged port factory, and an excellent veteran studio that has evidently had its creative backbone surgically removed.
On the Internet, we have a term for representatives like these: sock puppets
Tell you what, if Treyarch comes forward and says the same thing, I may be inclined to believe this.
I heartily agree with this sentiment. High Moon, Vicarious Visions, and Raven software undoubtedly have incredibly talented people working for them. Even though they mainly deal in ports, Vicarious Visions products have been pretty consistent in their quality, and their ability to translate games to handhelds or less powerful systems should be commended.
The problem with these studios is that none of them have exhibited any sort creative soul (other than Raven, but they seem to have had theirs removed a few years ago). I am sure that Activision hasn't tried to dictate game design to these studios; they are happily designing soulless derivative schlock without Kotick's lawyers watching over their shoulders.