Reports have surfaced today on both Polygon and Gamasutra claiming that Activision has paid a sum of $42 million to a group of 40 former Infinity Ward members implicated in an upcoming lawsuit with the Call of Duty publisher.
According to the reports--both of which cite an anonymous source close to the case--Activision paid the $42 million to the group representing former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella after reviewing the evidence for the ongoing lawsuit over West and Zampella's 2010 firing, and subsequent establishment of Respawn Entertainment with Electronic Arts.
Both Polygon and Gamasutra reported that the sum paid by Activision is not part of a settlement.
Instead, the sum is what the publisher believes the former employees are owed after reviewing trial evidence and reportedly finding that it does not implicate the group's 40 members. It is reported that Activision will now focus its legal efforts entirely on West and Zampella.
In March this year, Activision scored a partial victory in the suit, when a judge dismissed one of two fraud claims brought against the publisher by West and Zampella.
Activision claims that it fired the pair because they were secretly planning to start their new studio with the help of Electronic Arts, while still employed with the Call of Duty publisher. West and Zampella claim that the real reason they were fired was so that Activision wouldn't have to pay them millions of dollars in royalties associated with Modern Warfare 2. Beyond the performance-based payout and any other court-awarded monetary damages, West and Zampella are seeking to gain co-ownership of the Modern Warfare brand. If successful in court, West and Zampella would have the right to create and release both old and new installments in the Modern Warfare franchise.
According to the reports, the trial is set to take place on May 29.