Update: Activision has issued a response to G4 over the lawsuit:
“Activision believes the action is without merit,” said a company spokesperson. “Activision retains the discretion to determine the amount and the schedule of bonus payments for MW2 and has acted consistent with its rights and the law at all times. We look forward to getting judicial confirmation that our position is right”.
Original: Looks like the ongoing issues between Activision and Infinity Ward are far from over, and involve more than just folks flying the coup for Respawn.
According to documents dug up by G4, which continues to cover
the story it broke back when Zampella and West left IW, a dozen current and former employees have filed suit against Activision citing breach of contract and unpaid bonuses and royalties.
Filed by a group calling itself the Infinity Ward Employee Group,there are a total of 38 developers’ names on the list.
Allegations in the papers state that Activision violated California labor laws by holding promised payments due from Modern Warfare 2′s success “in an attempt to keep the employees hostage so that Activision could reap the benefit of the completion of Modern Warfare 3.”
The suit claims that $28M in bonuses have been paid so far, but that $54M is still owed.
The Infinity Ward Employee Group’s currently seeking $75-125M million which includes promised bonuses, interest, profit sharing, royalties, and stock options, and interest.
“Activision owes my clients approximately $75 million to $125 million dollars,” the group’s attorney Bruce Isaacs told G4. “Activision has withheld most of the money to force many of my people to stay, some against their will, so that they would finish the delivery of Modern Warfare 3.
“That is not what they wanted to do. Many of them. My clients’ entitled to their money. Activision has no right to withhold their money– our money.”
The group is also seeking an additional $75-$500M in punitive damages.
Current and former employees listed in the suit being handled by Wyman & Issacs, LLP are:
Todd Alderman, Frank Gigliotti, Roger Abrahamsson, Brad Allen, Mohammad Alavi, Richard Baker, Chad Barb, Keith Bell, Chris Cherubini, Taihoon William Cho, Chris Dionne, Joel Emslie, Robert Field, Steve Fuduka, Robert Gaines, Chance Glasco, Preston Glenn, Joel Gompert, Chad Grenier, Mark Grigsby, John Haggerty, Jacob Michael Keating, Chris Lambert, Ryan Lastimosa, Fairfax S. McCandlish IV, Jason McCord, Brent Mcleod, John Paul Messerly, Stephen Miller, Zied Rieke, Jon Shiring, John Slayback, Richard Smith, Geoffery Smith, Jiesang Song, Todd Sue, Rayme C. Vinson and Lei Yang.
This just gets uglier by the day, and comes on the heels of more IW employees defecting to EA and Respawn.
Earlier in the month, Dan Amrich, and ex-game journalist who now blogs for Activision, revealed on Facebook that Zampella and West’s bonuses were being dispersed among INfinity Ward employees.
Apparently not all of it or fast enough, we reckon.
Loads more through all the links.