Activision: EA And West/Zampella Were In Cahoots
One of 2010's biggest stories was the Infinity Ward/Activision fiasco, with former IW bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West battling the world's biggest publisher in a huge case involving Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
The latest update shows that Activision won't take anything lying down; according to GameSpot, they are now going after Electronic Arts. Activision had previously alleged that West and Zampella had secret meetings with EA and now, the new claim is that EA had a hand in West and Zampella's premature departure from Infinity Ward. Activision has since asked a federal judge for permission to file an amended cross-complaint, where EA becomes a defendant. Activision says EA "tampered with" the two guys and actually induced them to break their contracts, so they could form their own studio. If you remember, not long after the two guys created Respawn Entertainment, it was announced that EA would publish their products. Here's part of the filing:
"...starting as early as July 30, 2009, Electronic Arts and [West and Zampella]--with full knowledge that the executives were under contract and legally committed to Activision for more than two additional years--conspired to set up an indepdendent company.
The unlawful conduct came from the highest levels at Electronic Arts, including EA Chief Executive Officer, John Riccitiello, and Chief Operating Officer, John Schappert, with direct support from the high profile talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, and even a former member of Activision's Board of Directors and former Activision lawyer."
As if things weren't nasty enough before. Activision even has access to "shady" communication between West/Zampella and EA, including an e-mail that told EA's COO that he "was thrilled to have a super secret way" to find freedom. The suit goes even further by putting the limelight on Harold Brown, a former board member of Activision and West/Zampella's attorney. Apparently, Brown would've had "prior knowledge of Activision's incentive practices and suggests CAA (Creative Artists Agency) brought him in to cloak negotiations with EA under an attorney-client privilege."
Activision is looking for $400 million in "actual and punitive damages" from EA, West and Zampella, that includes profits Activision could've made had EA kept to themselves. They even say West and Zampella acted "in a manner that was in breach of their contractual and fiduciary obligations to Activision," and they gave "confidential and proprietary Activision information" to EA. It goes on for a while but it's just too grimy...I gotta go take a shower.
12/21/2010 8:59:10 PM John Shepard