MW2 lawsuit reveals Activision's "unbridled greed"

Written by Joe Martin

March 8, 2010 // 12:44 p.m.

Tags: #activision #lawsuit #modern-warfare-2 #mw2 #mw2-lawsuit-reveals-activisions-unbridled-greed #west #zampella

The lawsuit brought against Activision by ex-employees and Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella has accused the publisher of putting quantity above quality in the pursuit of "unbridled greed" - a factor which led to the royalty problems that culminated in the dismissal of both West and Zampella.

West and Zampella's lawsuit against Activision claims that the pair were unfairly dismissed, cheated out of agreed royalties for Modern Warfare 2 and were not allowed the creative independence their contract promised when it came to running the studio. Activision meanwhile accuse the pair of insubordination and has said the case is "meritless", while outlining new plans for the franchise.

"West and Zampella were not as eager as Activision to jump into the development of Modern Warfare 2," stated a16-page document, reprinted on IGN, that details the working conditions of the studio. "Despite assurances by Activision that West and Zampella would have complete freedom to run Infinity Ward as an independent studio, Activision had begun to intrude upon Infinity Ward's ability to create quality games."

"For example, Activision forced Infinity Ward's employees to continue producing the games at a breakneck pace under aggressive schedules, and West and Zampella were concerned that Activision was emphasising quantity over quality.

"Given Activision's insistence that Infinity Ward continue to focus on sequels to Call of Duty games instead of new intellectual property, West and Zampella were also concerned that Activision's demands risked 'burning out' the Infinity Ward employees' creativity. Nurturing a creative environment had been one of the cornerstones of Infinity Ward's success.

"West and Zampella were not eager to extend their employment; especially as they watched their games receive countless awards and make Activision billions of dollars, while many Infinity Ward employees were not being provided a fair share."

The document also alleges that an investigation began at Activision after the release of Modern Warfare 2, which sought to find reason to fire the pair. West and Zampella both claim to have been "interrogated for over six hours" in a windowless room and that other staff were bought to tears by the questioning.

The pair are seeking $36 million in damages and lost royalties, as well as control over the Modern Warfare title.

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