It looks like the former leadership of Infinity Ward are not going down without a fight. Former Infinity Ward CTO Jason West and president Vince Zampella have officially filed a lawsuit against Activision, according to a press release issued by their law firm, O'Melveny & Myers LLP.
According to the release, West and Zampella were terminated by Activision "weeks" before receiving royalties for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Activision purchased Infinity Ward in 2003.
"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."
O'Melveny & Myers LLP attorney Robert Schwartz is suing Activision in pursuit of West and Zampella's right to compensation for the production and sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the contractual rights allegedly granted to the duo to control "Modern Warfare-branded games." If seems West and Zampell may be fighting for the right to create Modern Warfare games outside Activision or to prevent Activision from creating Modern Warfare-branded games. Until we have more details, it's difficult to draw a specific conclusion.
Here's the full passage.
"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. 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 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 Schwartz in the 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."
According to the release, the suit is alleging "breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrong termination in violation of public policy, and declaratory relief."
The implications of this lawsuit are tremendous and far-reaching. Stay tuned for more.