Court Documents Provide Insight Into Infinity Ward v. Activision Lawsuit

Beginning with a commanding decree of greed and arrogance, court documents issued in the lawsuit between former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zameplla and publisher Activision are providing insight into exactly what transpired over the last few weeks (and even years) that lead to the forced removal of West and Zampella and their ensuing lawsuit.

“This lawsuit is solely and regrettably the result of the astonishing arrogance and ubridled greed of defendant Activision,” begins the lawsuit. It goes on to claim that West and Zampella were intentionally fired just weeks before they were to receive their royalties for Modern Warfare 2 so that Activision would be able to avoid paying them and be able to seize control of Infinity Ward.

The lawsuit continues, saying that West and Zampella were assured that Infinity Ward would maintain independence from Activision in terms of game development but that, after the release of Modern Warfare, Activision began to “intrude upon Infinity Ward’s ability to create quality games. For example,” the lawsuit continues, “Activision forced Infinity Ward’s employees to continue producing the games at a break neck pace under aggressive schedules, and West and Zampella were concerned that Activision was emphasizing quantity over quality.”

Most interesting, however, are the terms under which West and Zampella agreed to extend their contract with Activision in 2008. The contract they signed, extending their relationship with Activision until October 2011 specified 3 requirements:

1) That West and Zampella have creative authority over the development of any post-Vietnam era Call of Duty games and that they have complete control over the Infinity Ward studio. The contract specifies “explicityly” that “no such game can be commercially released without the written consent of West and Zampella.”

2) West and Zampella have the right to operate Infinity Ward independently and have the right to “choose to develop new intellectual property after they completed Modern Warfare 2.”

3) Numerous royalties for all Infinity Ward staff for any and all Call of Duty games, stock options, and technology royalties for any Activision game that makes significant use of Infinity Ward technology.

The lawsuit makes claims that Activision then instigated an investigation into West and Zampella on February 3 and that they never specifically told the two heads of the studio what they were being investigated for.

The entire court document can be seen below, with a big thanks to Joystiq for posting the entire lawsuit.

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