Rumour: Why Call Of Duty Developers Are Sticking Around

With studio heads at Infinity Ward, the developer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and its sequel, no longer employed, you'd think all those remaining at the company would be leaving in mass exodus. They're not, apparently, and here's why.

Sources tell Kotaku that Modern Warfare publisher Activision is delaying paying Infinity Ward employees their royalties. Every employee who worked on Modern Warfare 2 is apparently in for royalties. Traditionally, Infinity Ward has paid staff regular or even "low" salaries, sources tell Kotaku, but offer ridiculous royalties to compensate.

Earlier this month, Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, the men at the centre of the Call of Duty developer drama, filed suit against Activision over claims they are owed "substantial royalty payments".

"Activision has refused to honour the terms of its agreements and is intentionally flouting the fundamental public policy of this State (California) that employers must pay their employees what they have rightfully earned," said the pair's attorney, Robert Schwartz, of law firm O'Melveny & Myers earlier this month. "Instead of thanking, lauding, or just plain paying Jason and Vince for giving Activision the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public, last month Activision hired lawyers to conduct a pretextual 'investigation' into unstated and unsubstantiated charges of 'insubordination' and 'breach of fiduciary duty,' which then became the grounds for their termination on Monday, March 1st."

There have been rumours that Infinity Ward had been courting EA and other publishers before this brouhaha broke.

Sources tell Kotaku that Activision continues to delay royalties to other employees in order to keep them at the company. The morale at Infinity Ward is reportedly extremely low.

Last fall, Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 launched, racking up, as this past January, over a billion dollars in sales.


Comments

    Shame on Activision. From now on I refuse to buy their games. They disgust me.

      Agree. It makes no difference to activision, but it sure makes me feel a hell of a lot better :)

    I guessed that this might be how Activision would play it. While they may really be rolling in cash, they're certainly bankrupt morally.

    maybe they can join the lawsuit, make it a class action?

      Nah, they would have to put their name in and would find themselves sacked for insubordination or some other trumped up charge.

        But wouldn't they still be entitled to royalties, just not a salary. I don't actually know if its right, but wouldn't an artist that was dropped by their record label STILL be entitled to royalties from songs being bought off, say iTunes? Songs that were released WHEN with that label????

        Either way, i'm sure if a Class Action Suit occurred for say, lack of payments/royalties - they WOULD win and be better off!

    Just another case of artists having their work raped by big coperations. Activitsion should pay them the money they have rightfully earned from their art plus a hundred percent interest.

    Dang, its getting damn right nasty!

    thats disgusting if that is true. I don't think they will lose people overtime or quickly. shame on Activision.

    That's just awful. Truly disgusting. Makes you just want to spit on Kotick.

    it will be true for sure.

    poor lads :(

    thats disgusting to withold royalties that employees have rightfully earned, i assume they believe witholding royalties will some how keep the employees sticking around.

    i wouldnt put it past activision to make all the employees sign some contract stipulating that they can not leave infinity ward for a few years before they can recieve there royalties.

    i think blizzard should split from activision, i know i wouldnt want to be partnered up with a corporation who took the company who was responsible for making 3 billion dollars, fired the studio heads and then with held all of the royalties for the entire studio.

    cant say i feel sorry for them

      And why would this be? Because they don't deserve it for making one of the best games of 2009? Because they didn't make dedicated servers for us PC gamers? They decided against big pay packets so they could work extra hard, ship a quality product and reap the rewards. What Activision is doing is wrong, i worked in the games industry and got laid off, i was lucky and got my pay out, because i have a lot of mates who didn't. Poor Infinity Warders.

    Not paying their work force what they have rightfully earned to keep them around is just plain sickening.
    Activision can go and die in a hole as far as I'm concerned.

    Actions speak louder than Words Bobby.

    No matter how many times you try to tell us you're a good guy and Activision is a good company...

    ...well you're actions tell a much different story.

    That you're a bunch of money hungry cockbites that would rather screw your workforce out of their just rewards for providing you with a massive financial windfall than be honorable employers and pay your workers.

    I hope they all leave and reform at EA....and all your customers follow suit, you deserve nothing less.

    Shame fucking shame on Activision. The people behind MW2 would of shed blood and tears for this product. All they get for making a "billion" dollar product is a slap in the face??? Yes they didn't have dedicated servers or region selection but the people behind MW2 deserve every single cent they are entitled to, whether Activision like it or not.

    Obviously Activision haven't heeded the call of duty...

    Well if moral is at an extreme low it might be best not to buy IW's next game anyway. Especially if they themselves are likely not to have put 100% in to it.

    Another reason is there are fuck all jobs in the games industry at the moment.

    What would you rather do - leave everything to chance by becoming willingly unemployed during a recession, or hang on until better times even if your employer is a complete asswipe?

    Even with MW2 on their resumes, trying to find another job with another games company in the USA would be difficult.

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