Activision accuses West & Zampella of trying to poach staff and damaging the publisher

IW fight ‘delayed Modern Warfare 3’ development

The case between Activision and Infinity Ward’s former bosses continues to rumble on, and it’s getting pretty messy.

Today the publisher has claimed that the alleged disruptive behaviour by Jason West and Vince Zampella delayed the pre-production of Modern Warfare 3.

It’s a costly delay, no doubt – Modern Warfare is this console generation’s most lucrative games franchise. In fact, Activision said the whole sorry situation has cost it dearly, with extra resource assigned to MW3’s development, plus a stack of legal fees, not to mention the overall controversy.


Plus, Activision’s countersuit today – reprinted by IGN – claims that the two were actively looking to form their own studio, and poach colleagues.

Activision fired the two last month under claims of insubordination. West and Zampella filed a suit for improper dismissal and treatment, claiming they had been interrogated in a room, amongst other things.

The countersuit claims that Activision made many concessions to allow the pair to have a say in the marketing and publishing of Modern Warfare 2 – a privilege the publisher implies they abused through being uncooperative.

Activision summed all the behaviour up as "an improper attempt to gain an advantage for themselves in connection with their plan to leave Activision and establish their own company"

"Among other things, they delayed pre-production of Modern Warfare 3."

The filing continues: "As a direct and proximate result of this breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, Activision has been forced to commit additional resources to Modern Warfare 3, institute litigation to seek a declaration of rights, and incur costs and attorney’s fees, and will incur additional expenses".

"Activision has been [financially] damaged as a result of West and Zampella’s actions."

Activision also claims the two renegotiated their contract in 2008, during which time they had also threatened to delay the production of MW2 if Activison "did not meet their demands".

The publisher contends that the pair were ‘disloyal’, with accusations including:

"openly discussing their intention to leave IW with IW employees;

"arranging meetings with IW employees to discuss the willingness of such employees to leave IW and join West and Zampella at a spin off studio;

"threatening to harm the IP developed by IW and owned by Activision if their demands to be allowed to leave Activision were not met;

"engaging in a campaign to portray Activision and its management in a negative light to IW employees in an effort to solicit those employees;

"refusing to abide by Activision procedures and protocols;

"attempting to block IW employees from receiving equity grands, bonuses and financial compensation and incentives;

"asking Activision to allow them to keep for themselves millions of dollars of discretionary compensation that Activision intended to offer to the broader IW team;

"secretly meeting Activision’s main competitor; and delaying pre-production of MW3 and attempting to use that delay as leverage in their negotiations with Activision".

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