Activision "Disappointed" By Infinity Ward Founders' "Meritless" Lawsuit

The world's biggest video game publisher doesn't take allegations of "Orwellian" investigations and unfair dismissals in silence. Activision has responded to the lawsuit filed by Jason West and Vince Zampella, the ousted former heads of Modern Warfare 2-maker Infinity Ward.

"Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless," the company said in a statement emailed to Kotaku by a spokesperson. "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 honour 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."

West and Zampella, who were fired by Activision from the company's Infinity Ward studio on Monday for as-yet undisclosed "insubordination", are seeking in excess of $US36 million. G4, which broke the news of the brewing trouble at Activision, reported today that Activision is seeking documents regarding West and Zampella's communications with other companies, including Activision rival Electronic Arts. As recently as last month, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick (pictured above) made it clear there was no love lost between his company and EA.

Read the full Zampella/West lawsuit against Activision.


Comments

    Bah, screw you guys, i'm following West and Zampella.

      Bah it was MW2 burn in hell the lot of you :P

    Of course theyre GOING to say this, what are they gonna say 'Oh crap, theyre right!!!!'

    MAN THE PR MACHINES ACTIVISION!!!!

    and EVERYONE is once again disappointed in activision. i have purchased my last activision game until i see any evidence of change in the sh!tty company.

    What are the chances of West and Zampella retaining the rights for the "Modern Warefare" IP?

    If so, how would MW3 sales compare against CoD6/7?

      I'd say there's zero chance of this happening. Activision would have those rights sewn up tighter than an amusing metaphor alluding to great tightness.

      They definately own the rights to the "CoD" name and I'd assume the same goes for "Modern Warfare", since they were originally going to release the game without the "CoD" title in it at all.

    The law suit doesn't really go into what they tried to fire them for, just the means (and they sound pretty bad, like 6 hour interviews in windowless rooms) but kicking them out, without paying them... not a good way for a large billion dollar corporation to look.

    I think it's funny their 2008 agreement, gives them right to make whatever they want with infinity ward after modern warfare 2. Sounds like activision fired them because they wanted to work on other IP's.

    Here's a lesson to gifted programmers, gaming prodigies and record-breaking development houses everywhere.

    Do your best work, shatter preconceived notions of what a blockbuster can be, make an inconceivably huge mountain of money for your publisher, and get fired on trumped-up charges because your pre-agreed royalty percentage worked out to more dollars than the number crunchers really wanted to pay.

    Inscribe it on a statue.

    I would very much like to read the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) referenced in Mr. Zampella and Mr. West's complaint. The MOU is the basis for both the $36m claim and the assertion that both men retain creative control over IW and the MW brand.

    Unfortunately the complaint itself is too emotive and vague to comment on its prospects of success. Some of the statements are irrelevant (the history of COD2 and the launch of the 360), some are pejorative (the 'Orwellian' comment) but most are simply going to need a lot of actual evidence to support.

    If the MOU is valid and binding, the $36m will be the lease of Activision's worries. Even the control over IW is not that important. No, the killer is paragraph 25:

    'First, the MOU gives West and Zampella creative authority over the development of any games under the MW brand (or any COD game set in the post-Vietnam era, the near future or the distant future) including complete control over the IW studi0. Second, the MOU explicitly provides that no such game can be commercially released without the consent of West and Zampella.'

    That second sentence in particular. It gives Mr. Zampella and Mr. West a stranglehold over one of Activision's three pillars of income. No wonder Activision fired them - although the person it should be angry with is the one that signed off on the MOU in the first place.

      I'm with you on this one... If that MOU is all legally binding and states all that states, anything could happen.

      Even though MW3 is a given, based on the ending in MW2... it would be under threat of possibly never being released also.

      Activision would need to completely rebrand the game as something different, names and all...

    What's funny is that Activision have been interfering all along. They didn't want Call of Duty 4, said it couldn't work and then kept interfering with Modern Warfare 2.

    They seriously need to get out of the way and just let talented people do their thing. Good products will always sell.

    They make themselves sound so nice and in the right here... no mention of bonuses and royalties of course. And they sound so sensitive as well...

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