196w ago - Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella who were fired by Activision earlier this week are now suing the publisher for wrongful dismissal, unpaid royalties and the right to control "Modern Warfare-branded games."
They've issued a strongly-worded statement via their lawyers responding to Activision's claims of "insubordination" as follows:
The statement claims that, in Call of Duty and Modern Warfare, West and Zampella created "two of the most successful videogames in history" and, get this, "the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public."
"Activision terminated their employment weeks before they were to be paid substantial royalty payments as part of their existing contracts for Modern Warfare 2" the statement reads.
"Instead of thanking, lauding, or just plain paying Jason and Vince for giving Activision the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public, last month Activision hired lawyers to conduct a pretextual 'investigation' into unstated and unsubstantiated charges of 'insubordination' and 'breach of fiduciary duty,' which then became the grounds for their termination on Monday, March 1st" said their attorney, Robert Schwartz.
Jason West said, "We were shocked by Activision's decision to terminate our contract. We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world-class development studio, but assembling a team we've been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we've done speaks for itself."
"After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn't have to sue to get paid" Zampella said.
"Activision seized control of the Infinity Ward studio, to which Activision had previously granted creative control over all Modern Warfare-branded games" the statement concludes.
"The suit was filed to vindicate the rights of West and Zampella to be paid the compensation they have earned, as well as the contractual rights Activision granted to West and Zampella to control Modern Warfare-branded games."
In legalese, that translates to a suit claiming for "breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrong termination in violation of public policy, and declaratory relief."
That power struggle is now headed for the courts, and this one's going to be ugly!
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i agree with inginear above! i cant believe the naivety of some people on here thinking that it's activision that are going to take modern warfare or even cod to the "next level"!!!
IW created COD! they extended the development of it to treyarch, who admittedly aren't as good as IW, but all the creativity and ability to take the game and push it further comes from the dev's at IW... because it's THEIR game!
The contract that IW may have had with activision may well say that they now own COD and so activision can pass on that name to another dev and say "make it better and push it to these limits" but that wont help the series and certainly not the MW series, which will still be IW's baby to pass onto a different publisher to release with.
If IW were to build on the current game engine then it could take about 2years to push it as far as reasonably possible, and if they were to create an entirely new engine then it could potentially take another 3-4years before its finished!
The only way you will get a MW game that is pushed to its limits soon is by using the unreal or cry engine, which may be a possibility, but at the same time IW will want to develop their own engine so as to use it in future IP's so they dont need to pay royalties for using someone else's engine.
Bottom line is... if you make a game and it is successful for both the dev's and the publishers, you deserved to get paid for the work you've done. Shame on Activision for trying to break their contract like this.
publishers do not take games to the next level. they look to sell the same thing over and over again if it sells well the first time. just look at how many "different" guitar hero games activison has published. developers are more likely to take creative risks than publishers.
activision can keep the cod series if iw gets to keep all modern warfare labeled games. i think iw did a good job with mw and mw2. sure there are glitchers, but there are glitchers/cheaters in every online game. yes, i do think that mw2 looks and plays very similar to the original mw, however a lot of constraints on game development are put forth by the publishers.
i know this as i am in school for a game development degree, we are learning about how every part of the industry works. we even have had question/answer sessions with people from the local developers, one of whom is epic. if iw is given the time to make a new engine from the ground up, which takes years even with experienced coders, i'm sure they will be able to blow us away.
I've also read in several other forums that COD games that are developed by other studios are not as good as the ones made by Infinity Ward, and I do agree with this people opinions. Personally, I find this so true when I compared Modern Warfare VS World At War, I just didn't like WaW and ended up playing MW for a long time.
But is also true - IMO - that COD games (even the ones made by IW) are getting so old, it's true, they do have so many new cool stuff that you can explore (like the chopper in MW2) but once I got to play it, it kind of got boring. I'm pretty sure that, this feeling, is very common once you played enough any game, but I'd like to see some other interesting things with the COD series.
I hope the things get fixed for these guys ... this just might be an excuse to take the series to "another level", and it better be, to a higher one!