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Activision counter-sues Infinity Ward founders

Activision counter-sues Infinity Ward founders

Activision is suing Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampella for attempting to "steal the studio".

Activision has today lashed out at Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, who left the studio last month and began to sue their former publisher over royalty disagreements, by launching a countering lawsuit.

Activision's new lawsuit alleges that West and Zampella's behaviour is part of "an unlawful pattern of conduct" to try and steal one of the publisher's most valuable assets - the Infinity Ward studio itself. The accusation follows the resignation of two Modern Warfare 2 lead developers, Todd Alderman and Francesco Gigliotti, who had both helped launch the original Call of Duty. It's speculated that the pair may again join forces with Zampella and West.

According to the LA Times, Activision's new lawsuit also reveals that the publisher hopes to have Modern Warfare 3 released by late 2011 - and that Zampella and West actively tried to delay pre-production of the sequel.

The lawsuit also expands on rumours that Zampella and West have been meeting with Hollywood talent agencies and game publishers to start a new IP with Activision's competitors by making mention of "a secret trip by private jet to Northern California, arranged by their Hollywood agent, to meet with the most senior executives of Activision's closest competitor."

The most interesting single accusation of all though harks back to the on-going royalty disagreements between the studio and the publisher, with Activision saying that Zampella and West were the ones causing delays in royalty payments "in order to make these employees easier to poach when West and Zampella executed their plans to leave the company and set up their own company."

Zampella and West's lawyer has labelled Activision's allegations as "false and outrageous".

EA, who is strongly rumoured to be in talks with the Infinity Ward founders, has been quick to get a quip or two in as well, with spokesperson Jeff Brown saying that "[EA doesn't] have the time to comment on the many lawsuits Activision files against its employees and creative partners."

Check out our Modern Warfare 2 review for more information on the game, then let us know your thoughts in the forums.

15 Comments

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liratheal 12th April 2010, 12:28 Quote
Huh. Ha.
leeroy 12th April 2010, 12:40 Quote
like an episode of eastenders, except entertaining
theflatworm 12th April 2010, 14:13 Quote
*titter*
_Metal_Guitar_ 12th April 2010, 14:33 Quote
Stupid Activision. They NEED to delay CODMW3...don't they ever learn that people that sick of the same thing over and over.
Bazz 12th April 2010, 14:42 Quote
With BF: BC2 out and the new Medal of Honor coming out, who needs Activision anymore??
I have moved away from them for good, more 'hand bags at dawn' type stuff will only alienate customers....
javaman 12th April 2010, 14:53 Quote
COD 2011, COD2012, COD2013........Going the same way as EA everyday. Why not just release add on packs and overcharge for that instead?
AcidJiles 12th April 2010, 16:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeroy
like an episode of eastenders, except entertaining

+1
leexgx 12th April 2010, 16:30 Quote
i not loaded MW2 back on once i upgraded my system playing BF:BC2 mostly now, need an buy an new cod4 key as i guess some server admins do not like been shot at a lot

MW2 peer host system they use is unreliable, shot lag/network lag is way to bad in that game (plays like an console game, gears of war users will know what shot lag is host most of the time always wins)
Blademrk 12th April 2010, 16:51 Quote
Well it seems that West and Zampella have started "Respawn" a new development studio with EA.
bbshammo 12th April 2010, 16:55 Quote
As far as I'm concerned, I hope both of them really get stung badly in multitude ways through this episode.

After paying good money for MW2, and learning that IW/Activision thought it was a good idea to build camping into the game and celebrate the most deplorable of "gamer" types, whilst simultaneously tying the hands of decent players behind their backs, I shelved it for good.

All they care about is making as much money as possible at any cost, with as little effort as possible; which alone is no way to expect long-term business from customers.

It's just short-sighted and amateurish.

They are both fit only for the superficial console gaming market where the vast majority of gamers are satisfied as long as things are shiny, shiny, :p

Here's to both their downfalls!

:)
Fizzban 12th April 2010, 18:51 Quote
Name calling, finger pointing and "he started it".."NO it was him!" It's like something out of a school playground..or perhaps a play. Who will get the cream pie in the face I wonder?
1ad7 13th April 2010, 09:38 Quote
Wow this could get really really interesting. If they were truly planning a coup then Activision may have some legs to stand on. The real question is does Activision have any proof they planned to run off or are they just hopping they made such plans shortly after realizing Activision was trying to shaft them on there royalty payments? If i was these guys when I figured they were not going to pay I would have talked with my buddy's about a new company... but It wouldn't be the master plan they are being accused of...
ambrose 13th April 2010, 13:35 Quote
seems like a good time to be a lawyer....... but all these cases seem quite hollow from here.
SteveU 13th April 2010, 14:54 Quote
I love this line:-

EA, who is strongly rumoured to be in talks with the Infinity Ward founders, has been quick to get a quip or two in as well, with spokesperson Jeff Brown saying that "[EA doesn't] have the time to comment on the many lawsuits Activision files against its employees and creative partners."
knuck 13th April 2010, 17:04 Quote
god I hate what the gaming world has become ...I would love to go back in time 15 years
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