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COD-GATE – West and Zampella go legal over money, power

Thursday, 4th March 2010 06:08 GMT By Patrick Garratt

modernwarfare221

When you believe you’ve created the most successful entertainment product in history and you’re owed millions of dollars in royalties, you don’t go without a fight, right?

Ex-Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella have sued Activision for unpaid royalties and the “contractual rights” to control “Modern Warfare-branded games”. The full press release is here.

West and Zampella were sensationally fired from the Acti-owned studio this week, with the publisher citing “insubordination” as a reason for ousting the duo.

“Activision has refused to honor 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 O’Melveny & Myers LLP attorney Robert Schwartz in a press release.

“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.”

Quite obviously, the two developers aren’t exactly “happy”.

“We were shocked by Activision’s decision to terminate our contract,” said West. “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.”

Zampella added: “After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid.”

West and Zampella are suing Activision not only for unpaid money, but for control of the Call of Duty brand.

“Modern Warfare 2 is arguably one of the most successful games in history and together with Call of Duty, has generated more than $3 billion in sales for Activision,” said the suit.

“In addition, Activision seized control of the Infinity Ward studio, to which Activision had previously granted creative control over all Modern Warfare-branded games. The suit was filed to vindicate the rights of West and Zampella to be paid the compensation they have earned, as well as the contractual rights Activision granted to West and Zampella to control Modern Warfare-branded games.”

Activision has now confirmed that Sledgehammer is creating a new Call of Duty “action-adventure,” and that another title in the series is due for release in 2011.

Infinity Ward itself is currently working on two Modern Warfare 2 DLC packs.

You can get details of the entire debacle here.

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19 Comments

  1. Plainview

    HO-LY SHIT!!

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Johnny Cullen

    Can you say “shit has properly hit the fan?”

    #2 5 years ago
  3. DUFFKING

    This is going to be fun to watch.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. ybfelix

    Awww I hate the *-gate sticker

    #4 5 years ago
  5. G1GAHURTZ

    It seems to me as though they’re suing for the Modern Warfare brand, not the Call of Duty brand.

    Which would go a long way towards explaining exactly why they apparently pushed for the name change.

    So at the moment, it looks like (obviously this is pure speculation) sometime before this mess, IW pushed for a name change, dropping the CoD name so that they could take ownership of the ‘new’ MW2 brand.

    That’s why the name of MW2 is officially MW2, and not CoD:MW2.

    For some reason (probably because they’re ridiculously huge sums), Acti isn’t paying any bonuses, but maybe they now realise that IW has the upper hand, because they own the product.

    So what do they do? They ‘cut IW’s head off’, put some external guy in charge and claim ownership of the MW2 brand!

    I hope these guys get the rights to MW2. I’m not sure who they’d go to though…

    Probably Take-Two.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. freedoms_stain

    I want to know what Acti are calling insubordination.

    It’s going to have to be pretty damn good if they’re going to wriggle out of paying up.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Dralen

    I want them to win this too. If Acti win this, it’s just gonna start a chain reaction of a load of other shit that they think they can get away with.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Patrick Garratt

    G1GAHURTZ – That’s true, and I’ve edited it. It specifically says “Modern Warfare-branded games” in the press release.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Eregol

    Reminds me of the whole Itagaki thing with Tecmo.
    I’d guess they’ll walk away with a pretty sum, if not, then they might come away with the entireity of Infinity Ward.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. NiceFellow

    Funny, I just can’t help but instinctively root for the guys suing the big corporation. Hope they win.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. SunKing

    Maybe the edit hasn’t shown up yet for me, but it still says “West and Zampella are suing Activision not only for unpaid money, but for control of the Call of Duty brand.”

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Blerk

    Wow! This story gets better every day! :-D

    Will the whole sorry saga now have to be played out in public, complete with all the gory details? We can only hope.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. G1GAHURTZ

    Yeah, I didn’t think that they would have much of a chance of getting control of the CoD brand, since so many other studios have also made CoD games.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Tonka

    LIES! Halo is the greatest entertainment product ever. I wonder if their deluded minds have put more LIES in their “press” release.

    (collects Acti smear cash)

    #14 5 years ago
  15. Tonka

    “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

    Hahahah lol ever last month lolololol

    idiots

    #15 5 years ago
  16. endgame

    well no offense but they asked for it. if u’r that dumb to allow acti to control u then u deserve to get ass raped. still, in a way i hope justice will be made and u’ll get your money back.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. fear_itself

    Powerful men never go quietly.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. G1GAHURTZ

    That’s because they eat too much vindaloo.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. The_Villa

    Give me a S!
    Give me an U!
    Give me an E!
    What you get? SUE! SUE! SUE!

    #19 5 years ago

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