Electronic Arts has lost its bid to be cleared from a bitter and expensive lawsuit between rival Activision and axed Infinity Ward staff.
EA’s argument, that accusations thrown at it were without merit, was dismissed this week by a California judge.
Activision is suing EA for surreptitiously recruiting two men central to Infinity Ward and the Call OF Duty Modern Warfare franchise.
EA denies the allegations. The judge’s decision to not absolve EA from the lawsuit does not mean it will be held liable.
Jason West and Vincent Zampella were dismissed from Infinity Ward twelve months ago, and issued a lawsuit against Activision on allegations of unpaid royalties. Activision countersued for what it deemed “insubordination”.
In another twist, several months later it emerged that West and Zampella started their own studio – called Respawn Entertainment – and signed a publishing deal with EA.
Activision is suing EA $400 million for the duo’s departure and subsequent deal with EA.
Following the departure of Zampella and West in March 2010, Infinity Ward began to haemorrhage staff. Thirty-eight developers who quit the studio also went on to sue Activision for unpaid royalties.
That group have now added six new claims against Activision, two of which alleged fraud, according to an LA Times report.
The highly-amended lawsuit now claims Activision had, in 2008, promised key employees ‘enhanced royalties’ to remain at the studio so it could finish developing Modern Warfare 2.
The case continues.