Call of Duty court case settled - Report

[UPDATE] Attorneys say legal proceedings between publisher and Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampella and 40 ex-Infinity Ward devs will not head to a trial; terms of settlement not disclosed; both parties comment on the settlement.

There will be no courtroom drama in the case of Activision vs. Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampella, according to a new report at The Verge. The site reports that attorneys said the case has been resolved in a settlement and will not go to trial. This comes after days of behind-closed-doors meetings between both parties.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The Los Angeles Times' Ben Fritz was in attendance at the Los Angeles courtroom today and said the lawsuit involving the 40 former Infinity Ward developers has also been settled. This was first reported earlier in the month.

Terms of the deal were reportedly "strictly confidential" and not disclosed. As of press time, neither Activision nor representatives from West and Zampella's new outfit Respawn Entertainment had responded to GameSpot's requests for comment.

In March 2010, Activision fired ex-Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella for insubordination, claiming the pair were secretly planning to start their new studio with the help of Electronic Arts.

West and Zampella filed a lawsuit against Activision for this move, claiming the real reason they were fired was so Activision wouldn't have to pay them millions of dollars in royalties associated with the November 2009 title Modern Warfare 2.

Beyond the performance-based payout and any other court-awarded monetary damages, West and Zampella sought to gain co-ownership of the Modern Warfare brand. It is unclear if they were successful in this endeavor.

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Activision and Electronic Arts (representing Zampella and West) provided comment on the settlement. Below are their statements.

Electronic Arts:
"Activision's refusal to pay their talent and attempt to blame EA were absurd. This settlement is a vindication of Vince and Jason, and the right of creative artists to collect the rewards due for their hard work."

Activision:
"Activision Blizzard, Inc. today announced that all parties to the litigation have reached a settlement of the dispute, the terms of which are strictly confidential. The company does not believe that the incremental one-time charges related to the settlement will result in a material impact on its GAAP or non-GAAP earnings per share outlook for the current quarter or the calendar year, due to stronger-than-expected operating performance in the current quarter."

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Discussion

105 comments
June-GS
June-GS

If it's not already obvious, the conclusion is, Activision lost. You can even hear it in the "tone" of their respective PR statements.

blackwing55
blackwing55

Is it just me or do you hate both parties?

shakensparco
shakensparco

Awww that's really too bad :( I wanted to see blood.

 

Ah well, I'm sure Vince and Jason got and the team got millions enough for everyone to be happy.

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

Reminds me of LA Noire's Homicide desk. Ended abruptly and without any closure.

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

From Activision "The company does not believe that the incremental one-time charges related to the settlement will result in a material impact on its GAAP or non-GAAP earnings per share outlook for the current quarter or the calendar year, due to stronger-than-expected operating performance in the current quarter."

 

or - "Fk the games, the fans & the content developers. If you're one of the many rich arsehats like us with stock in this company or a stake in this franchise who's making a motza off ripping off absolutely everyone who loves games then you've got nothing to worry about. We screwed West, Zampella & everyone else all over again & it's business as usual b**ches"

thepope21
thepope21

lol they  should have hired Pheonix Wright!!!

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

 @bluespire1 It's not likely they'll do any new IP if they are going to EA. (unless EA buys some new IP).

Ghetto_ninja
Ghetto_ninja

EA's statement leads me to believe that Vince and Jason were indeed trying to do what Activision said since they refused to give them any ownership in the Modern Warfare franchise. 

giocher
giocher

I'm very disappointed, I hoped West and Zampella would have crushed Activision (and Bobby Kotick in particular) the way it deserve it. I even made popcorn to enjoy the show... :(

Hollowdimension
Hollowdimension

"...This settlement is a vindication of Vince and Jason, and the right of creative artists to collect the rewards due for their hard work."

 

Does anyone else find this statement from EA a bit ironic?

xMoonDevilx
xMoonDevilx

Basically...ok, here's your money, now STFU.

bluespire1
bluespire1

I hope that the Brilliant men behind Infinity Ward can now move on and make us a great new I.P. to enjoy for years to come...

CylonRaider01
CylonRaider01

The whole thing for me was a joke.It had no sense and it is like some1 took this story from a spy movie and maded it real.I mean"project Ice Breaker"Cmon thats lol.

berzerk0912
berzerk0912

Hey Bobby, hurry up, and write that check!!!

Borderlands666
Borderlands666

Damn I was hoping Activision would go under. Ome of you can say what you want about EA but Activision was the guilty party here, and at least they has to pay something. Last good CoD was WaW and before that was CoD 3. The Modern bore fare's and Black ops sucked with their 3-4 hour campaigns, and terrible multiplayer. I havent bought an Activision game since CoD4 (rented MW2, 3 and CoD BO) and I will continue that stance as long as Kotick runs that piece of trash and continues to make useless 3 hour FPS's.

kingbobicus
kingbobicus

It would've been cool if they went to court, and it got so incredibly dramatic that both EA and Activision just exploded. Literally blew up.

FanboyslayerPS
FanboyslayerPS

I hope they hit activision hard. That's what you get when you become greedy.

juggernaut5
juggernaut5

i guess thei were both f^&%$# hehehe

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Why they didn't just do this sooner, the world will never know.

 

Sort of like getting to the center of a Tootsie pop.

Apastron
Apastron

The terms of the settlement are 'strictly confidential' but West and Zampella will be turning up to work in solid gold limosines next week.

liam82517
liam82517

So activision gets to keep the modern warfare brand and jason and vince get a butt load of cash.

 

It was obvious, activision were gonna bottle it once the truth started coming out about their unscrupulous acts. I hope they have ended up having to pay a lot more than they would have in the first place just for being dicks!

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

So all this build up and then they are not even going to battle it out *sigh*

 

I expect a large sum of money was payed out by activision so they didnt risk losing mw, which they love so much.

musalala
musalala

Damn it I was hoping for some courtroom drama!!!

staranise
staranise

Yes yes as if its not the end result we were all waiting for.

 

Now go---create:

 

Kull of Duty: Black Ops of Olden Warfare

kuda001
kuda001

An out of court settlement meant it was a weak case for case for Activision. It also probably means that as part of settlement details will not be released to the public.

Henninger
Henninger

They knew they had a weak case & this is the result.

OtakuGamera
OtakuGamera

so what happens to the modern warfare rights?

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

That was faster than I expected.... Now let's all move forward and get back to making games.

foxrock66
foxrock66

d'aw I was looking forward to seeing this play out. 

Khasym
Khasym

It's not too surprising that the case never saw a courtroom. I didn't think it would. Both EA and Activision could have forced paper-blizzards to air all their dirty laundry. I do wish the settlement was public. I still don't agree with what West and Zampella did to get out from under Activision. I know a lot of people painted them the victims here, but they did this kind of thing before. For some reason, no one seems to remember that the original IW team, West and Zamp included, was all made up of people who worked on EA's Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, then 'left' EA to join IW and Activision.

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

but i wanted to see activsion burn. but then i want to see ea burn for the destruction of so many child hood game franchsies

Unholy123
Unholy123

Did they get the rights back to CoD is the thing I want to know.

Paul2004
Paul2004

Disappointed to say the least, would have been one interesting court case. Act must have paid quiet abit to shut them up, tho i dont believe CoD would be part of the agreement (No chance in hell). Stuff like this costs a lot of cash, most would just stall until the other side runs outta funds but i think the bad publicity was getting outta hand for them so they settled.

chappy_man
chappy_man

Is it wrong I had no idea this wasn't over yet....... PEEPS deserve pay for their work that's all i got to say.

namdar
namdar

SK lost against Epic recently too 

IvanKavinski
IvanKavinski

Man I hate the mega publishers.  EA's statement sounds like something a politician might say to make people happy while Activision's sounds like something Siri might say...  completely detatched from their fans.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

I guess this popcorn is going to go to waste...

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

 @CrouchingWeasel no it's more like "don't worry we promise that investment payoff will be the same this year, we still got some money, even if we had to pay West and Zampella"

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

 @Ghetto_ninja 

 

Why? Activision actually paying up and the unsealed testimonies leads me to believe that Activision was trying to frame them so they wouldn't have to pay out royalties. EA just happened to be in the right place at the right time. 

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

 @Legrieme 

 

They didn't move to EA, they are an independent developer that has a publishing deal with EA through their Partner's Program. EA does not own this studio or their new IP in any way. 

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

Actually, yes; if your future plans are a conflict of interest, you most certainly can be fired over them once they are exposed.  The thing is, I don't recall that happening until after they were fired.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

 @liam82517 The details of the settlement are not announced. So at this point it's unclear if or for how long Activision has the rights for the use of the Modern Warfare IP. It's also unclear if West and Zampalla will be rewarded with "a butt load of cash."

 

However, I would agree that it appears that EA has come out the majority victor in this case.

 

Out of spite, I would like to see Activision loose the Modern Warfare IP. But it really doesn't matter. Modern Warfare will just become the next Medal of Honor over time.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

 @mjc0961 

 

Really? You must be blind or an Activision troll. Activision was clearly in the wrong which has been shown by some of the released documents that came out prior to the settlement. And if they were right, then they definitely would not have settled and paid out a buttload of money to all parties involved (as indicated by their statement that was mainly to reassure their shareholders). And of course EA was going to step in once these guys were fired, they would be foolish to not sign this caliber of talent to a publishing deal and give them some assistance in setting up a new studio. If they didn't, someone else would have like Microsoft, Zenimax or Take 2. I am sure that most of the employees of Infinity Ward would not have just up and quit if Activision was correct, and there is no way there was a conspiracy with all the developer's employees. They quit because they saw how scummy Activision was treating them and most joined Respawn out of loyalty and respect for West and Zampella. Fact is Activision was trying to find a way to fire these guys or invent one just so they could get out of paying them royalties and keep complete control of the Modern Warfare rights. They settled at the last minute so the damaging evidence came to light which would have hurt them obtaining further publishing deals and further tarnish their image.

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

 @Unholy123 It would never be settled out of court if that were the case. An out of court settlement on activisions part was probably mainly to maintain cod rights.

IvanKavinski
IvanKavinski

Siri would say it with more personality though...

namdar
namdar

 @nurse_tsunami No kidding... I was interested to see the outcome.. obviously Activision paid up... that's clear :D

colt_a
colt_a

 @DashRender619 Publishers make no money from renting games.  The place you rented them (Gamefly, Blockbuster, etc) already purchased the game for full price. (Source:  I managed Blockbuster's Game Rush store spinoff that failed epically).

 

Movies can be a different deal when it comes to rentals (depending on the agreements made) but when it comes to games, 100% of the rental goes to the retailer it was rented from.

desauce
desauce

 @dlCHIEF58 Both sides did wrong here. It just turns out that one was a greater wrong than the other.