Former IW Bosses Sue Activision

08 Mar, 2010

Following the recent stir between Activision and the management at Infinity Ward, Vince Zampella and Jason West have filed a court document in which they launch some major allegations at their former employer. In the court documents, Zampella and West claim control over the Modern Warfare as well as control over any Call of Duty-instalment set in a post-Vietnam era.

Based on a memorandum of understanding created between Activision and the former CEO and President of Infinity Ward, West and Zampella are owned royalties for the use of the Modern Warfare engine in other games published by Activision, as well as royalties for the success of Modern Warfare 2. Activision is charged with wrongfully discharging both West and Zampella over unsubstantiated allegations of insubordination. West and Zampella argue that Activision is trying to ‘cheat’ them out of their rightful compensation for the success of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and is trying to gain full control over the Call of Duty franchise. The court documents states that Activision owes West and Zampella the sum of at least $36 million USD.

While Activision has not yet officially launched a legal response to the allegations, it has provided a statement in which it declares the suit filed by West and Zampella to be meritless. This statement is included below.

“Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless. Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

While the Call of Duty franchise itself is legally owned by Activision, West and Zampella dispute the rights for the separate Modern Warfare franchise.

About the author

Robin Meijer

Missed out on most of the "Golden Age of Gaming" due to not being born until 1988. Been catching up on what I've missed out since I began writing for Elder Geek in 2009. For some reason, continuously mistaken for being Belgian, despite being Dutch.

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4 Comments

  1. Gavin Greene
    March 08, 2010

    This can’t end well for either party…rooting for IW though.

    • Keck282
      March 08, 2010

      Maybe, but it would end better for IW if they win, Activision will have to change the way they do business, or else face the consequences. There are a bunch of gamers that don’t trust other devs making CoD games, and Activision has milked Guitar Hero to death. So if IW can manage to seize rights to the CoD name, or just what they held rights to, any CoD game post-Vietnam, than that would be a big blow to Activision.

      I too am rooting for IW, as much as I don’t like MW2 for the design choices that they consciously made or were forced to by Activision, dues need to be paid for especially when IW made Activision $1 Billion dollars last year, Will increase with the Map packs.

      • Seluhir
        March 09, 2010

        Infinity ward HAS no rights to the call of duty name. None at all. Activision owns that 100%.

        Infinity ward has SOME claim to the ‘modern warfare’ name.

        Keep in mind that Activision still owns Infinity ward… its just these two former employees that are suing A-B, not IW on the whole.

        I’m rooting for Activision in this. Why? Because those two were VOCAL about how bad activision was, despite being FUNDED by them. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. If you do… you deserve to starve.

        Feel free to dislike what they do, feel free to complain in yourp rivate meetings with them… but don’t go public with it. Its bad for YOU, its bad for the company you work for, and its bad for them as well. Nobody benefits in this situation.

        I think they deserve their royalties owed to date, but nothing more than that. No future royalties, no additional rights to this… they’ve done it to themselves and they deserve to lose out.

  2. TenchuX
    March 08, 2010

    I don’t think either party is innocent in this ordeal to be honest. West and Zampella are likely guilty of some shady stuff as well as Activision.

    Remember though when you say IW made Activision all this money etc. It’s Activision that’s funded IW for years, and spent the millions needed to help make MW2 as big a hit as it was.

    While Activision may enjoy milking the crap out of things, they’ve earned the right to do it, and will continue to do so while everyone keeps buying these products.

    The only innocent ones are likely the average employees at Infinity Ward that have nothing to do with this suit.

    It must have sucked to be one of those guys when all of this went down.