Activision scores partial victory in Infinity Ward suit

Judge dismisses one of two fraud claims brought against the publisher by fired developers Jason West and Vince Zampella.

Activision Blizzard scored a minor victory today in its ongoing lawsuits with Jason West and Vince Zampella over the developers' 2010 firing and subsequent establishment of Respawn Entertainment with Electronic Arts. According to a Bloomberg report, a California State Superior Court judge today dismissed one of two fraud claims the developers made against Activision.

We may finally get some closure on this lawsuit later this year.

Specifically, the judge tossed out a fraudulent-inducement claim in which West and Zampella accused Activision of making false promises to them during 2008 contract negotiations so they would stick around for development of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Activision claims 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 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.

The trial on all remaining claims in the case is scheduled to start May 7.

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78 comments
nameaprice
nameaprice

@xsonicchaos sorry man but Mass Effect 3 was a total let down on all fronts. Mass Effect 2 was engaging and really did make it feel like a desperate struggle. ME3 just felt, well for lake of a better word "lame". As for COD its all the same and Battle Field games have always been the clear choice, well for a PC guy anyways. oh and one more thing, COD story lines are crap, pure unadulterated crap!

megakick
megakick

Activision use to make good games on Atari, thats about it.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@DarthLod Even in the 80's it wasn't all that different. The "creativity" that you're referring to is--again--partially the result of people just not having thought of everything yet. Today, the land has been farmed extensively and the soil is tired, but there are FENCES in the way, so creativity isn't really "creativity" anymore; it's just a reshuffling of what's already there to make it FEEL creative. And that's not because of a lack of integrity. It's because it's literally IMPOSSIBLE. As for the 80's, ever heard of Mega Man? Six games in the regular series on the NES. That sounds like milking to me. And those beloved 80's were also the era that Nintendo was exercising monopolistic control over the market, demanding third parties only release 5 games a year, not port them to other consoles, and still made them buy cartridges in bulk quantities of no less than 50,000. Third parties would have died off if Congress hadn't caught wind of the unfair business practices. I'm not someone who agrees with the attitudes exhibited by Activision and/or EA. They've done their fair share of blatant money-farming routines. But we can stop them by just not supporting them with money. And frankly, when companies DO get things right, everyone ignores it. EA became a MUCH better company from around 2007-2010, publishing several new IPs and killing off dead ones. But nobody gives them credit for it. They just keep calling them money-grubbing jerks.

DarthLod
DarthLod

@cachinscythe : Please, don't make me laugh. Back in the 90's? lol. No kid, back in the 80's is what I was referring to. People weren't berating jerks when I was a kid. We all enjoyed gaming together. Stood next to eachother in arcades or mom and pop stores playing Pac-Man, just glad there was a thing called video games at all. Now days it's just rude, egotistical, immature, elitists everywhere you go. No, gaming is not the same as it used to be. And yes, back then there was way more creativity and less milking because it was more innovative and full of people not setting around thinking up new schemes to rip consumers off. I was there, I know. I don't care if EA and Activision employ lots of people, they have become to bloated and greedy. Everything must die eventually. Go watch Wall-E and see how well your precious corporations do....

McGregor
McGregor

I remember the days when Activision made some of the best games. As for the lawsuit, I honestly hope the devs win, because MW3 was such a disappointment (I only owned it for a little over a week) that if they win, maybe they can save the franchise. I am pretty sure both sides are nearly equally at fault. I say, give the devs an option, take partial ownership in a franchise (that is dead if they can't revitalize it) or take a nice chunk of change.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@BuBsay dude, that's not even the point. all you have to say is MW3 has bad graphics and the same gameplay as MW1. first, i don't even own the game. i chose to buy BF3 instead, but that doesn't mean i have to b**ch for the sake of runting on a game. Call of Duty hasn't changed much, i will not defend it for you anymore, but it is a good game. i agree with you on some level, yes the series has gotten stale, but the story is great as alway. shooting is fun as always, as for the graphics, you are a spoile brat, sir! you have to agree with me on that. Mass Effect 3 was the best on the series. Story too, ending too. Shut up!

BuBsay
BuBsay

@xsonicchaos Except for your mentioning random things that hold absolutely no merit. People don't dislike Mass Effect 3 because it's different (hell look at the jump from Mass Effect 1 to Dragon Age: Origins, both of which people adored), people hate it because it's horribly written. As for Modern Warfare? Change the setting, change the engine, for the love of god upgrade the graphics (If you think those are good graphics go look at something like Witcher 2 or Mirror's Edge then come back to me), and make it so it actually takes strategizing and planning rather than a non-stop clusterf*** of action. Seriously, adrenaline action is good, but when that's all your game has to offer it gets really stale really fast.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@BuBsay @Samus_Chan what other mechanics do you want in a first person shooter. do you like Medal of Honor (the 2010 one)? no? it got some nice new mechanics and some awesome graphics. still no? do you realy know what you want cause you sound like you know so why don't you tell us. Graphics are awesome in both. Have you guys seen what better graphics did to AC Revelations? It's a damn sequel! The story had to continue in it's last form. Now how about what Bioware did with MAss Effect series. Oh, now you don't like change! Hell knows what you people want.

tecosuag9
tecosuag9

@BuBsay there really is no difference between them only that MW2 feels smoother then MW3

BuBsay
BuBsay

@xsonicchaos Now go play Modern Warfare 2 and then Modern Warfare 3. See the difference? Neither do I, that's called stagnation. Or insert one of these other words here: Lack of originality, clone, cash-cow, Activision being greedy bastards, Activision driving yet another series into the ground again etc. etc.

VilandasUK
VilandasUK

Check my shoes now motherf***er :lol:

Y2WaShErE
Y2WaShErE

Hope they get the ownership. Maybe they can end this thoughtless sequel spawn spree.

Frimmel
Frimmel

I'm still waiting to learn how much exactly these guys were owed in royalties.

Tseng
Tseng

Are we surprised that ex-Activision dev's are equally as douchey as Activision? No.

FlameBeast4000
FlameBeast4000

I'm with the developers on this one. They made Modern Warfare, and deserve some ownership/hefty reimbursement.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

While I'm really no fan of Activision, West and Zampella's claims seemed... Fishy.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@crqos007 dude, why would you want to stop making call of duty games? the premise of all the rampaging is the awareness that call of duty has to get better in the future installments, not to be cancelled. but as you too probably have seen, call of duty is not what it used to be ten years ago and in a good way. good graphics, great stories, awesome gameplay. gon on, play call of duty 2 and then play modern warfare 3. huge dif. my friend. that's called evolution.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

this is a real proof of greed and financial gain wars in the gaming industry. those guys just want a piece of modern warfare not because they are spiritualy bound by the franchise, but because they want a piece of the cake. If they were so hell-bent on that idea, why not make another cool brand that would crush call of duty?

manciuxl
manciuxl

way to many kids below me

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

You know what I do when I'm bored of call of duty instead of complaining? Play a different game:)

fightingfish18
fightingfish18

I don't like acti. but if my employees solicited my biggest rival about a new studio, id have fired them too. They signed over the mw rights to acti. Their fault. Ive no sympathy.

crqos007
crqos007

okay not that im defending activision because i'm not, i'm just saying that if you people want call of duty changed because activision has essentially released the same game for 5 years THEN STOP F!@$(%^ BUYING IT! you b!tch about it, but each game outsells the last one, so if you want it changed stop buying and they'll stop making

megakick
megakick

If that is the case I would fire them to. Let EA fund infinity ward if they can come up with anything besides another COD, BWHAHAHAHA...

MoreThot
MoreThot

Activision claims 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. Their lawyer should just be apart of the news. For real.

jubdeidamasta
jubdeidamasta

@MafiaMusic knocking EA yet admitting you buy a madden game every year and you have a Shepard avatar,genius.

jubdeidamasta
jubdeidamasta

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

No clear answer here on who should win(legally speaking). I hope Activision doesn't have the upper hand they need to move on from CoD and MW being broken away will help that.

couchtater12345
couchtater12345

@MafiaMusic One could say the same of Activision, of the two I'd get rid of Activision first.

dylan35
dylan35

And to think Activision was created when employees defected from ATARI ,and with that i would think they are well versed in owning the rights to any and all product !!!

MafiaMusic
MafiaMusic

EA is truly evil. Man, they're jealous as heck of C.O.D. I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to bribe to West and Zampella. THey did it with madden, and now us loyal football fans are stuck with an awful NFL game every year, with ancient PS2 graphics and controls. EA, anything you touch turns to crud.

-theMisfits-
-theMisfits-

I wish they would win. And along with that, all rights to Call of Duty. They already proved with COD4 that they are capable of completely changing a genre. If they weren't pressured by Activision to stick by the same formula and only have 2 years, I have no doubt in my mind they would be able to created the greatest Call of Duty yet. One that just might be loved by gamers again. Give them the ability to do what they want and the time they need, and COD could just be saved.

StarkJJ
StarkJJ

West and Zampella are guilty as sin. EA caught.. yet again tampering cause they can't properly compete. EA did the same tactic with 2k sports when Madden was getting blown out of the water. Typical EA. West and Zampella are idiots. Hope they get what they deserve.

luc11044
luc11044

@dhvl2712 - I agree with that. People seem to be losing objectivity just because they like to hate on Activision.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@DarthLod "Gaming how it used to be" is an utter fantasy. It has ALWAYS involved corporations looking to make money. Yes, back in the 90's there MAY have been more creativity, but that's just because nobody had bothered to farm all the land yet. It wasn't the result of some "integrity" that everyone thinks was the cause of that "golden era." And even if you're right, EA and Activision employ thousands of people. Saying you want them to die is essentially making those thousands of people unemployed on the questionable idea that it will cause games to be developed better. And just so we're clear, EA is employing West and Zampella. If you support them, you'll reconsider. The "milking"--which it isn't really because we can choose to graze somewhere else, unlike regular cows--of franchises only occurs because we gamers continue to demand more and more from the same old franchises. If we stop buying, they'll stop making.

rangeraa
rangeraa

@djforlife84 Congrats on being part of the 90%

DennisWZH
DennisWZH

so what was the promise activision made in 2008?

R2BDSi
R2BDSi

Modern Warfare 2 was the last creative COD in my opinon!

kyle_360
kyle_360

come on, activision should have been ran into the ground, modern warfare 3 should have never came out, im on respawns side

supertom221
supertom221

"Activision claims 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." Sounds like a good plot for a game :P So now they are not allowed to plan stuff? They did not breach the contract.

dhvl2712
dhvl2712

Is it really not possible that EA tried to steal West and Zampella away from Activision? Do people really believe EA is above that?

Nathalmighty1
Nathalmighty1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

djforlife84
djforlife84

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

berzerk0912
berzerk0912

I hope they win, and take back their game. So they can bring COD back to it roots, and take it to a whole new level.

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

@YukoAsho and they use steam instead of their own terrible online store and they arent trying to jack the prices of PC games up

MurphyNH
MurphyNH

Call of duty has sucked since call of duty 4. I'm sorry but they change the numbers around and include some ways to score more points at once, but it's still the same goddamn game. When someone kills 10 people in a row they don't need the help of a goddamn apache helicopter that one player alone can't kill.

MrHatnClogs
MrHatnClogs

I'm hoping that West and Zampella win. If they make Activision depend on it's other cash cow sub series Black Ops and limit the COD titles released each year, that would be really great. But that's only if there is a MW4 in the works.

scarletsnake
scarletsnake

I would like to say that IW became horrible after West & Zampella left, but they were at the helm when the series took a nose dive; ahem; namely a game called Modern Warfare 2. A nose dive alright. Head-first into a huge pile of crap.