Ex-Infinity Ward Bosses Sue Activision for Unpaid Royalties

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Ex-Infinity Ward Bosses Sue Activision for Unpaid Royalties


The fallout from the Infinity Ward / Activision showdown is still far from over: Ousted IW bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West are suing the publishing giant for unpaid royalties over Modern Warfare 2.

Despite a momentary period where it seemed things had settled down, it looks like we haven't seen the last of the Infinittwardämmerung just yet. Infinity Ward co-founders Vince Zampella and Jason West have sued Activision over unpaid royalties, according to a press release from law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

To be precise: It doesn't seem that Zampella and West are claiming that Infinity Ward hasn't been paid royalties at all (as some were reporting), but rather are suing on the grounds that the two were terminated before royalties were due to be paid. According to Edge Online, the suit alleges that Activision's seizure of control of Infinity Ward was in violation of an agreement that granted West and Zampella "contractual rights" to control the Modern Warfare series, and includes claims for "breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrong termination in violation of public policy, and declaratory relief."

"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 attorney Robert Schultz, representing the duo.

"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."

West spoke in his and Zampella's own defense as well: "We were shocked by Activision's decision to terminate our contract. We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we've been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we've done speaks for itself."

"After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn't have to sue to get paid," added Zampella.

While it's tempting to automatically side with the little guys here - and to be fair, you don't sue a multi-billion-dollar corporation unless you're pretty sure you have a case to stand on - we'll just have to wait and see how this all turns out. Hopefully, open litigation will shed some light on what really went on behind the doors of Infinity Ward and Activision, and answer some of those persistent rumors floating about since this all went down on Monday.

Infinity Ward was founded in 2001 and acquired by Activision in 2003.


Anyone else notice that the Escapist airs these stories an hour or so after IGN?
OT: I hope they get their money or jobs back, Activision doesn't seem to know how to play nice.

I hope those two win this case... Activision just deciding to terminate contracts like this.
Pah, what happened to a company's loyalty to its own employees?
This will be somewhat payback for the low-blow by Activision...

It does sound like Activision are being huge mayor douches right now.

But I think there are things we don't know about yet. There must be some reason Activision fired them, you don't just hire lawyers to find reasons for it.

Ugh, and lets see the anti-Activision shit talking continue. Just remember, people, we're only seeing one side to this story, and it just became very apparent why. I would have an extremely hard time believing a corporation such as Activision would be dumb enough to do something like this without good reason. I suppose we shall see.

Karma Activision. Karma. Someday it will come to bite you in you billion dollar, gold plated ass.

As I said before, this isn't over yet and I'm sure more details will arise. This story is so clouded right now due to different people saying different things, it all comes down to what evidence there might be I guess

Tempting nothing, you've got to side the the little guys here.

Even if they did 'breach' their contracts, it's a fair bet that Activision did everything it could to leave them with no other choice. Given Kotick's many, many and public efforts on how he thinks a company should be run, dreaming up excuses for sacking people to hang onto a paycheque sounds like a perfect fit.

Even if they don't come out of this completely blameless they still deserve the money they're after. Activision could probably do with remembering exactly who's work it is that is bringing them in all that money they seem to be so jealously hording.

Based on what I've heard and my general feelings towards Activision, I hope they get sued into the ground.

I'm hoping for some juicy "Modern Wargate" leaked emails in the coming days.

Bobby Kotick is going to have his hands full with all this.

Well fuck. If IW loses the Call of Duty franchise, I'm sure as hell not buying anymore of them. Even if I didn't like MW2 it was a good game regardless.

Treyarch on the other had made awful, awful games.

Based on what I've heard and my general feelings towards Activision, I hope they get sued into the ground.


Ugh, there's too much "smoke and mirrors" surrounding this conflict; I can't really side with either party.
To be fair, Activision really ought to have thought things through before staging that coup d'etat at Infinity Ward..........that's just not nice..........

I'm still unsure how Infinity Ward even got drawn into the gaping maw of Activision in the first place.

Note to Activision:

I swear the world's closer to going to hell every day.

Note to Activision:

So damn true, so damn true

While we don't know the exact details of what the Infinity Ward bosses have done (their insubordination); Activision really hasn't been looked favorably by anyone these days. They have been using increasingly questionable bullying tactics against developers and studios, their line up is absolutely corporate-mastermind, uncreative sludge (Blizzard excepted), and their CEO doesn't realize he's running a "game" company. I understand he owes a duty to his shareholders to deliver profits (which he has done), but when you start neglecting and abusing your personnel, your long-term goals go down the tube.

If someone hands you the biggest cash cow of the year, you don't fire them, you reward them. Even if they say something to undermine your authority.

Activision: The Mafia of the Computer Gaming world. Along with the hired goons.

Like I said after Kotick's "apology", he's still a thug.

Modern warfare 2 is not only the highest grossing game ever made it is the highest grossing entertainment product ever made. Like it or loath it it's the product of what these two men have done, i think developers wanting to join activision companies should take a good long look at their record.

I may not be the biggest fan of MW2, but the game's sales put everything else to shame. I think it's fair to say that those guys must have done something right, and that tolerating some alleged "insubordination" would be something the head-honochos at Activision could live with. After all, if you have a goose that lays golden eggs, you don't complain about having to feed it or clean up its crap, do you?
Activision is becoming less likable with each passing day...

[quote="Greyfox105" post="7.178817.5195361"]Pah, what happened to a company's loyalty to its own employees?

It never existed? America is an At will Employment Nation, Companies can fire you for any or no reason at all, in some states you have no protection if your fired for refusing to break the law for your employer. California is not one of those states, but there are 7.

ot: It they did have a contract insuring them to be involved tehy may have a case, how ever if tehy were looking to try and find a different publisher, and breached a contract, they have a good chance of having to pay Activision.

I honestly rather dislike Activision. They just seem so damn evil.

Anyone else notice that the Escapist airs these stories an hour or so after IGN?

same as most news, that's just the way it works

OT: Wow this really is an eventful week. Sounds fair enough, I sided with the little guys as soon as I heard they sent bouncers to the company. 1) it destroys any faith for the employer in the employees. 2) I really feckin' hate bouncers.

This will be an intresting story to follow.

And I will give the devil his due, even kotick isn't dumb enough to fire two top execs just to avoid paying them.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The "game development universe" is full of crap like that, people working years/months on games and NOT getting credit for it, getting overworked ect ect ect.
Its the far west out there.

Hey Bobby Kotick, prepare you letter box.

I do hope the case goes through! They worked hard on MewTwo and if there contract was broken...well...

John Funk:

Just doesn't make sense....the firing was so sudden and immediate...the legal battle that Activision will go through now...why not just pay the guys?

I'm still betting the whole "contractual rights" bit about ModernWarfare relates to how the two heads were looking for a new publisher. And Activision caught a wiff of it, and said "hell no."

I mean these guys just made a breakthrough of a game...chances are there are other publishers willing to pay way more than whatever agreement Activision made with them years before.

Watch Activision lose and bump game prices to $70 to recoup the loss.

I forgot. Why'd they lose their jobs again?

Watch Activision lose and bump game prices to $70 to recoup the loss.

They don't honestly need it, look how much they made in the first week http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_warfare_2#Sales_and_Revenue

If they do increase the price of their games, I will eat my socks

The Rockerfly:

Watch Activision lose and bump game prices to $70 to recoup the loss.

They don't honestly need it, look how much they made in the first week http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_warfare_2#Sales_and_Revenue

If they do increase the price of their games, I will eat my socks

Ahahaha, excuse me pointing out your naivety but greed doesn't know when to stop.


Show that you are not zombies. I know, we are all addicted to Activision games, but please, for the good of humanity, show some common sense and boycott Activision (yes, including Blizzard games). If you are worried about how it would affect developers like Blizzard or Infinity Ward, then don't be, because you're not a Red Cross. They will take care of themselves and they sure as hell won't give you free games if you end up unemployed.
So, boycott them.

"A boycott is a form of consumer activism involving the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons."

"whaaa i got fired over a gigantic pr clusterfuck that alienated all our old fans but i still want to get paid after i get fired"

Try and bullshit your way out out this one idiots.

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