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.
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