Infinity Ward Execs Return Fire, Set To Sue Activision
We told you it'd be nasty.
The fallout from the Activision/Infinity Ward tiff is only just beginning and we expect it to last for quite some time. After learning that Activision would sue the studio for breach of contract and "insubordination," we now learn that the IW executives they fired are turning around and suing the publisher. Yep, mess. According to GameSpot, ex-Infinity Ward president Jason West and CEO Vince Zampella have decided to file a counter lawsuit of their own: Los Angeles-based legal firm O'Melveny & Myers announced today that the suit against Activision - on behalf of West and Zampella - asks for unpaid royalties and "the contractual rights of Activision granted to West and Zampella to control Modern Warfare-branded games." Activision says the two were sacked after an "internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination," but the IW execs claim they were fired "weeks before they were to be paid substantial royalty payments as part of their existing contracts for Modern Warfare 2." Attorney Robert Schwartz issued the following statement:
"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. 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 1."
We also learn that both West and Zampella were "shocked" to learn they were being fired and as Zampella noted, "after all we have given to Activision, we shouldn't have to sue to get paid." These guys are claiming breach of contract and "breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and declaratory relief." The publisher in question is already on shaky terms with gamers everywhere; this likely won't help their image because it appears like a "Big Bad Corporation" vs. "Innocent Individuals" case. But to be fair, we need to hear Activision's side in more detail before passing judgment.
3/4/2010 12:26:14 PM Ben Dutka