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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 11:25am 05/03/10 | 26 Comments
Further to our report yesterday regarding the ruckus going on over at Activision and Infinity Ward, the LA Times has reported former IW execs, Jason West and Frank Zampella, who were fired from the company earlier this week, have filed a lawsuit against Activision for wrongful termination and an apparent breach of contract.

According to the report Activision set an internal investigation against the two for acts of "insubordination" and "violations of Activision policies", however, it is alleged the two were cleared of any wrongful claims just prior to their being fired on Monday, sparking an immediate legal response from the two.

They have also filed for complete control of the Call of Duty franchise for any games set after the Vietnam War, demanding that Activision not release any games baring the name without their expressed permission. They have also asked for a payment of "unpaid" royalties in excess of US$36 million.

Activision responded to the lawsuit to the LA Times stating the following:
Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless. Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.












Latest Comments
Crakaveli
Posted 11:36am 05/3/10
I hope they win. I f*****g hate activision they are worse than EA.
Tetsuo
Posted 12:04pm 05/3/10
NOW they are worse the EA, takes alot to knock EA of the s*** head throne imo.
Sc00bs
Posted 12:47pm 05/3/10
hopefully iw wins and they can afford big dedicated servers for mw2 =)
Methz
Posted 01:19pm 05/3/10
at least the IW boys aren't going down without a fight.
Viper
Posted 01:22pm 05/3/10
I heard that they didn't aren't pushing for the rights to Call of Duty because Activision owns that but pushing for the rights to "Modern Warfare". That letter from Activision sounds pretty silly almost like they completely ignore that fact that what IW did for them financially with the release of MW1 and 2 never happened because they speak as if it only benefited IW and yet what they are filling this law suit about is their share of the profits from the MW2 launch, it also speaks of "honour their obligations to Activision" this sounds even stupider after it clearly states that they were cleared of the charges of insubordination and violations of policy.

On a side not, this all but confirms that the next call of duty is set in Vietnam as has been rumoured for some time now.
Sc00bs
Posted 01:37pm 05/3/10
vietnam should be good, gettin a bit over these arab deserts anyways
HurricaneJim
Posted 01:38pm 05/3/10
On a side not, this all but confirms that the next call of duty is set in Vietnam as has been rumoured for some time now.


Which neither West or Zampella have any control over. If you read the docs filed you find they define Modern Warfare as post Vietnam. Further, they don't actually disassociate CoD from MW and I think it can be easily established that Modern Warfare is a CoD title. The court may in fact find that they do have control over the "post Vietnam" development of the next X number of games but if Activision doesn't produce or intend to release a "post Vietnam" game under that title they have effectively no control nor any right to it.

If Activision chooses to they will bankrupt both West and Zampella because in the US "Money talks and bulls*** walks". That is how the US legal system works.
Dazhel
Posted 01:39pm 05/3/10
A Vietnam CoD pretty much takes care of all the significant wars in the 20th century.
Next up - Call of Duty: American Revolutionary Warfare!
HurricaneJim
Posted 01:41pm 05/3/10
vietnam should be good, gettin a bit over these arab deserts anyways


Yep, can't agree with you more. There are plenty of battles and actions from Vietnam that translate well into the CoD genre.
Sc00bs
Posted 01:46pm 05/3/10
how hard is it to make up a war in a different location. vietnam in the present day or something...
Dazhel
Posted 01:46pm 05/3/10
If Activision chooses to they will bankrupt both West and Zampella


Sad but true. Bankrupt them with the billion odd dollars that these blokes helped earn for activision. Ouch!

The documents posted sound a bit like a cranky childhood rant though, either they're owed money under some contract or they're not. The wrongful termination claim is probably of dubious merit since it looked like there was bad blood well before it came to this. The Activision dude seems to think their lawyers have all the contracts sewn up tight though. Time will tell!
Methz
Posted 01:51pm 05/3/10
Tbh I'd like to see what IW can do with other genres/ip
I'm at the point with CoD now that I was at with MOH, which is f*****g over it.
MatchFixa
Posted 01:53pm 05/3/10
vietnam should be good, gettin a bit over these arab deserts anyways
de_dust 4eva.
Viper
Posted 01:59pm 05/3/10
If you read it you can tell that they do have a contract that gives them rights to any call of duty title set in the "post Vietnam era, near future or distant future"meaning that they must give approval before the creation of such a title can come to fruition.

I don't think it sounds like a childs rant at all, I would be pissed off too if I was cheated out of $36 million dollars.
It also states in their contract that they have full creative control over the post Vietnam call of duty title.

It also goes into detail about how their investigation was carried out which states that it even brought some members of the Infinity Ward staff to tears and West and Zampella were told that if they tried to console they that it would count as further acts of insubordination.

It also goes into say that they never actually told them of any specific event that they were investigating and simpy took the you know what you did approach.

I think that they will win this case as it is fairly evident by the actions taken by Activision that they were doing this in order to assume full control over the Call of Duty franchise and to avoid paying the two ex studio heads, it is fairly evident to me that Activision has breached their contract towards the two and I would not be surprised if they walked away with more than the $36 million that they are asking for.
Tepid
Posted 05:43pm 05/3/10
what happened to games without all the drama-bombs
Eorl
Posted 07:40pm 05/3/10
@tepid, they died a honest death
FraktuRe
Posted 08:21pm 05/3/10
I hope they win. I f*****g hate activision they are worse than EA.
Trauma
Posted 09:04pm 05/3/10
Well that just give some credit to the rumors of a Vietnam COD being made by Treyarch. If what these docs allege is true, then f*** Activision are total c****.
Dazhel
Posted 09:20pm 05/3/10
If you read it you can tell that they do have a contract that gives them rights to any call of duty title set in the "post Vietnam era, near future or distant future"meaning that they must give approval before the creation of such a title can come to fruition.I don't think it sounds like a childs rant at all, I would be pissed off too if I was cheated out of $36 million dollars. It also states in their contract that they have full creative control over the post Vietnam call of duty title.


That's what they claim. Activision probably sees it differently otherwise it would likely have avoided going to court.
In one of the paragraphs of the document they complain that Activision bought the whole company for $5 million and the product they were making went on to make around $3 billion. It seems like they sold out cheaply to just survive and now they're a bit annoyed about it.

If they have a contract that says they're owed $36 million bucks in royalties then great, I hope they win - but I doubt the beast's lawyers are stupid.
Viper
Posted 11:11am 06/3/10
They are stating that its in their MOU in which both parties have a copy so I don't know how much room there is for interpretation then again I haven't read their contract so whose to say, but I will say that the 2 heads aren't exactly un-rich so I'm sure they can afford some decent lawyers too.
WetWired
Posted 12:43pm 06/3/10
I think that they will win this case as it is fairly evident by the actions taken by Activision that they were doing this in order to assume full control over the Call of Duty franchise and to avoid paying the two ex studio heads, it is fairly evident to me that Activision has breached their contract towards the two and I would not be surprised if they walked away with more than the $36 million that they are asking for.


And they'll start up a new studio and release a game called Brothers of Honor: Medal of Duty
ynuiboy
Posted 10:04am 07/3/10
Serves them right for jumping in bed with those a$$holes. The way they treated us pc gamers, they can suffer...
reLapse
Posted 01:17am 08/3/10
"Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans."

Actvision wouldn't know an exciting and innovative game if it dangled it's dice on their collected foreheads.
GT:calumanderson
Posted 08:48pm 09/3/10
CoD IS GREAT BUT NEW MAPS MW2 XBOX
MatchFixah
Posted 02:45pm 07/8/10
vietnam should be good, gettin a bit over these arab deserts anyways
hey f u!
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