Report: Activision Tried To Dig Up Dirt On Ex-Call Of Duty Developers

Report: Activision Tried To Dig Up Dirt On Ex-Call Of Duty Developers

The ugly court battle between Activision and its former employees has gotten even uglier.

According to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times and released today, Activision hired a man named Thomas Fenady to “dig up dirt” on Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampella so the company could build up a case to fire them. The newspaper reports that Fenady was asked to hack into West and Zampella’s voicemail, email and computers in an operation code-named “Project Icebreaker”.

Sounds like a spy movie, doesn’t it? As the Times writes:

Fenady testified that he expressed concern about the project but was told, “Don’t worry about the repercussions.” Fenady found an outside company, InGuardians, who also balked at the task because of “legal hurdles.” Stymied, Fenady approached the company’s Facilities Department and talked about staging a “fake fumigation” and a “mock fire drill” in order to get West and Zampella away from their computers long enough to copy files on their computers.

Ultimately, Activision did none of those things. Activision declined to comment on the documents, as did attorneys for the developers.

According to the Times‘ Ben Fritz, Activision’s request to delay the court trial was denied and it will proceed on May 29.

Check out the Times‘ piece for the original documents.

Key documents unsealed in Activision Call of Duty trial [LA Times]


  • A few points that I think are worth highlighting:

    This wasn’t about “ex Call of Duty developers”. This was about “Call of Duty developers” – they were still at the company!

    Also, Activision didn’t actually end up doing anything. The article doesn’t say why. Perhaps they hired someone to see what was possible and balked at it so didn’t do it.

    As a further comment, my employer is able to look at my computer at any time to see what files are on there. Maybe Activision didn’t have the foresight to write that into their contracts, but an employer looking at an employee’s computer isn’t that extraordinary.

    Anyway, I get a bit picky about legal reporting. Carry on!

  • Isn’t that the name of a breath mint? Ice-breakers, right? Breath mint? I’m gonna be thinking ‘Operation Breath Mint’

    Sorry, just started watching Breaking Bad last night.

  • I normally don’t like to apply human notions like ‘evil’ to corporations but if this is true, it’s about as close as you can get. Is Activision’s HQ in a volcano or something? Bobby Kotick is outlandishly evil.

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