Much about the acrimonious split between Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella and publisher Activision remains unknown, but one lawyer has speculated that the inevitable court battle that is on the way could conceivably result in future releases in the Modern Warfare series being vetoed.
On Tuesday it was confirmed that Activision had sacked former Infinity Ward owners West and Zampella.
However, today it emerged that the pair are to sue Activision over claims it terminated their employment just weeks before they were due to be paid ‘substantial royalty payments’ as part of their existing Modern Warfare 2 deal.
As part of the statement their lawyer confirmed that they are seeking to “vindicate the contractual rights Activision granted to West and Zampella to control Modern Warfare-branded games” – a claim that litigation specialist Jas Purewal is stating could lead to what amounts to the death of the record-breaking FPS series.
“This is potentially explosive,” Purewal wrote on the Gamer/Law blog. “West and Zampella are arguing they have contractual creative control over the Modern Warfare brand.
“The details will have to come out in the litigation, but it could see West and Zampella demanding a veto over Modern Warfare 2 DLC as well as any other Modern Warfare games. If they have a good legal basis for their argument, you could even see them seeking an injunction against Activision prohibiting any further work on Modern Warfare until this lawsuit is resolved.”
Speaking of the upcoming court battle in broader terms, Purewal added: “From what we know so far, it seems the legal crux of this litigation will be whether West and Zampella were really in breach of contract to the extent that Activision was entitled to fire them in the manner it did.
“All of this will have to be backed up by disclosure of Infinity Ward/Activision documents and witness statements from West, Zampella, Infinity Ward and Activision personnel. You can see that this is not going to be pretty.”