West, Zampella object to EA addition in Activision suit

Modern Warfare creators seek to block Call of Duty publisher's motion to amend, claiming extreme personal financial burden of ongoing litigation.

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Just before the gaming industry ground to a standstill for the Christmas holiday in December, Activision fired off a legal broadside in its ongoing dispute with former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella. The filing sought to amend its original countersuit against West and Zampella to add rival Electronic Arts as a co-defendant in the case, as well as request $400 million in damages from the Respawn Entertainment founders and their new publisher.

West and Zampella could use a helping hand.

Yesterday, West and Zampella responded to Activision's motion to amend, objecting to the request on grounds that the Call of Duty publisher waited too long to make its request. Further, the filing contends that Activision did so only in order to cause undue financial hardship on the game makers. Currently, the trial is scheduled to begin May 23, 2011.

"Litigating this case imposes substantial financial and time burdens on [Jason West and Vince Zampella]--much greater burdens than those imposed on Activision, a large corporation that has earned over $3 billion from selling the videogames plaintiffs developed," the filing reads. "Plaintiffs suspect that Activision waited so long to add EA primarily to delay plaintiffs' day in court. Plaintiffs desire a prompt resolution to their claims and to avoid the significant additional expense that a delayed trial date would cause."

"The monthly cost of this litigation has imposed a substantial cost on [Jason West] and co-plaintiff Vince Zampella," it continues. "West and Zampella are paying for the litigation from their own funds and are not being subsidized or reimbursed by anyone else. … Delaying the trial means more costs, more burdens, and continued distractions in trying to run their business, non-party Respawn, and manage its dozens of employees."

Additionally, the filing contends that all discovery related to EA was produced between June and July 2010, some seven months before Activision entered its motion to amend.

"Activision knows its delays [are] a problem, so it devotes much of its motion to attempting to show that it 'only recently' received discovery responses on which its proposed amendments are based," the filing states. "In fact, however, all of the recently produced discovery relates to the additional allegations against West and Zampella, and all of the discovery relating to EA was produced to Activision more than six months ago."

The suit goes on to note that Activision would still be free to sue EA for its role in the situation in a separate suit, one that would operate independently and, more importantly, not impede West and Zampella's day in court.

In the event that the court grants Activision's leave to amend, West and Zampella request that it do so under the "condition that the trial date not be affected."

Discussion

144 comments
Slash_out
Slash_out

@Kvon403 Sorry I thought this was the comment section where I could comment and give my opinion? Oh wait... it is. I'm complaining because I can, and if others were smart enough to do the same and not buy crap, they wouldn't make any and they would try to fake their respect for the gaming community better. Btw, as you suggest, I'm not buying their game for that very reason. Same as I'm not buying any of Ubisoft's games. And no, I'm not pirating them, they don't even deserve that. As far as I can tell, as long as those companies are such dooches, their games don't even exist for me. I do have some integrity, and I do not give on those "gaming urges" that makes some of us sheeps and blind.

Kvon403
Kvon403

@Slash_out if you could sell cr*p and make billions of dollars would you. thats what i thought so stop whining and dont buy the game if you think they're bad developers

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

Am I the only one who think that EA orchestrated all of this to take West, Zampella off from Activision?

jameslee1997
jameslee1997

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

bluespire1
bluespire1

Activision Sucks...400 million dollars in damages! Are they serious? They want to ruin these men,Probably because they wanted out of Call of Duty and try something else.They have made billions of dollars of this franchise and they are bitter.I fear for Halo developer Bungie I do...

ersten
ersten

For what I care about the story.. not much. But I'll always back the employees vs corporate companies. Besides Black Ops was one step backwards compare to MW2, except for the dummy MP where you get to train against your list of friends. That's the only reason why my copy didn't go back to the shop.

icepop4who
icepop4who

"Didn't Activision make enough money?" What? Are you going to ask for a pay decrease for your job? Maybe you should just stop buying games and ask for a pay decrease, you greedy bastards.

Slash_out
Slash_out

Seriously, Activision really is an insult to the gaming comunity. They don't care about their employees, they don't care about their client, they would sell us cr*p is they thought they could get away with it. And all that comes from the rotten core, the CEO, the worst of all.

shooters125
shooters125

Make love not Warfare XD. But seriously Activision, West and Zampella are already paying fees there really is no reason to sue. If you have any respect for the gaming community AT ALL you wont sue.

valengar
valengar

I wonder if activision knows how much they are pissing off what should be their own community? Gamers are tired of this hissy fit they are throwing. I have stopped buying activision games. They are annoying me and I feel no need to support them. If only Blizzard hadn't joined them I wouldn't feel so dirty for playing star craft.

valengar
valengar

I wonder if activision knows how much they are pissing off what should be their own community? Gamers are tired of this hissy fit they are throwing. I have stopped buying activision games. They are annoying me and I feel no need to support them. If only Blizzard hadn't joined them I wouldn't feel so dirty for playing star craft.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

Because these people don't already make enough money right... If Activision would just concentrate on making original games instead of milking the same people for the same game ever year, there'd be a lot less tension/lawsuits.

elitecrank
elitecrank

alll i have to say is what money activision the money never givin to West or Zampella. Just take the pennies they have left why don't you

starduke
starduke

Hmm, I'm betting they settle out of court if funds really are a big deal for West and Zampella. To bad, too, since I wouldn't mind seeing Activision taken down a few pegs.

Alex_09
Alex_09

Modern Warfare 2 was extremely mediocre, and you guys are still continuing the Infinity ward fanboy remarks?

chronolzx
chronolzx

i am glad we have laws against slavery State side. hence, to activison, stop pretending that you own these developers and let them live their lives...

Charocks
Charocks

Let's make a petition to make Kotick shut up and take this lawsuit like a good doggy. Also to the below posters: Zampella and West have a countersuit filed to reclaim all rights to "Call of Duty" and "Modern Warfare". We're gonna have to take Treyarch crap for another year because Kotick WILL lose.

IrshDrkWlf
IrshDrkWlf

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

IrshDrkWlf
IrshDrkWlf

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

91210user
91210user

I'll just bookmark this page and add it with the rest of the Activision lawsuits news that I've accessed in the past few hours.

eriktkire
eriktkire

funny. the fabled CoD killer could actually be this lawsuit by the original CoD guys. I hope they destroy Kotick.

Timmy_Gwar
Timmy_Gwar

Ok, so who else said "No s**t" when they read this headline? @wars45 You realize that with West and Zampella gone MW3 wont be overseen by any of the people who made MW2 right? Let me put it this way, do you remember what happened to the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" series? Nuff said.

wars45
wars45

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

Patapon250
Patapon250

Activi$ion is just a money hungry, backstabbing(infinity ward), greedy PoS company that only cares about what they get and not what they give(games).

Shaun373
Shaun373

@ viator54 While, its true that the FRCP want to put all related claims into the same suit, they are very specific that you need to get all your claims into the suit at the beginning and that you can add more claims later for exceptional reasons. It stretches the limits of believability to think that Activision couldn't sue EA for any number of torts when they filed this suit but now they can. However, even if W&Z succeed in their motion Activision might still be able to sue EA then petition the court to merge the cases because they result from the same nexus of facts. It just gets stupidly complicated from there. Personally I believe that Activision is doing this to hurt W&Z as much as they can, but they might have a leg to stand on so they might get away with it. I bet EA is footing the legal bills for W&Z anyway so their cry of financial burden rings a little hollow to me. This is fun to watch though, its like watching two drunks on Cops kick the crap out of each other.

Drewby132
Drewby132

I hope they do finish the Price/Soap story. Regardless of what people, I love this story, or at least the characters. I hope they end the MW series with a bang. A MASSIVE BANG

Zerabp
Zerabp

Did someone really say Nintendo was one of the "upbeat companies? Look at Nintendo's third party support with the Game Cube and currently the Wii to get an idea how they deal with developers and other publishers... On topic I think the motion will fail as the evidence does point to just trying to stall for time to increase the work load on West and Zampella's shoulders as well as increase their legal fees.

CyberPenguin88
CyberPenguin88

This went from a few developers leaving to a huge mess.

viator54
viator54

Even though I take West's and Zampella's side in this thing, I think Activision's motion is fine. There's a reason the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure try to get co-claims and counterclaims to all be brought in one action: the courts don't have the time and resources to handle all the litigation that would otherwise be filed. Lumping EA into this is efficient because most of the evidence, witnesses, etc., will be the same as for the Activision/W&Z suit. Assuming Activision filed everything timely in accord with the FRCP, EA is likely to be a party in this case. Also, I promise you that W&Z are still going in to work everyday, creating new games for Respawn. Extending the litigation by a few months doesn't mean that they'll have to be in court everyday or talking to their lawyers everyday. That's just a silly argument. On a game-related note, I'm willing to bet Activision still creates MW3 but with different developers. Even if it's not as good as W&Z could have made it, they will want to finish off Soap's and Price's story and the COD brand-name will guarantee that it sells well no matter who makes it.

Colonel-Snake
Colonel-Snake

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

Zerabp
Zerabp

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

JACOBDRAGON666
JACOBDRAGON666

and today children the class will be about greed and how everyone who has some money had it seriously this will never end till bith companys loose money and have to cancel a few games

Drewby132
Drewby132

I doubt there will even be A MW3 on the grounds that CoD is still an Activision license. As much as I wish it weren't so, West and Zampella probably won't be making CoD games anymore. And I doubt Activision will give there golden franchise up, especially with the success Treyarch had with Black Ops.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

lllllet's get redy to rumbllllllle!

kwanzudood
kwanzudood

As long as they spend money on this, EA/DICE will be able to spend that much time/money making Battlefield 3 that much better than Modern Warfare 3. Maybe Activision anticipates that Battlefield 3 will be on shelves at the same time as MW3, so a lot of the mainstream gamers/game-buyers will confuse the two titles.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Never start a legal fight with a billion dollar company unless you have a very strong case a lot of money and patience. The wheels of justice turn very slowly and require lots of greenback lubricant (by the hour of course).

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

Seriously, there's no doubt that the man behind all this is deeply childish and if not, just wrong inside. Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick is literally insane about money, like a madman, not like a businessman. The guy acts like he has a grudge on mankind.

LtReviews
LtReviews

West and Zampella shot themselves in the feet here. If they weren't negotiating with EA in violation of their contract- they wouldn't have signed on with EA just days after being fired from Activision. You can't sign on with EA, and say you only talked to them for a day or so, when you are the makers of the most popular FPS games in existence- no, it doesn't happen that quickly. I'm not a fan of Activision- but its pretty obvious that West and Zampella gave Activision all they needed for a successful case.

mattiberg
mattiberg

West and Zampella have helping hands though, all of the cod4 fans.!!

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Hope ea wins this one with West and Zampella just to shove it into activision..They have been really killing there games of late with this crap they have installed in there games..Any one should have the right to form there own company if they get fired..Activision fired them an they had the right to form there new company..Hope what ever game they make kills cod..SInce they are the ones who invented the game in the first place..Activision used to make good games now they are living off the past..

Marzillius
Marzillius

Activision is a parasite on mankind, which is a parasite on the planet itself. A double parasite - oh, my!

oneligas
oneligas

This case sounds more and more like Activision is trying to spawn kill Respawn and that's how the legal industry gets most of it's work. Pulling EA into the law suit is typical of Activision just look at what Activision tried to do to Double Fine over Brutal Legend same type of garbage different day.

Flaregon
Flaregon

Activision should be accepting the challenge Respawn could possibly pose to them, and improve their games by a million fold . Tch.

A_X_E_L
A_X_E_L

Maybe when its all over Activision will make this into a game, thats why its taking so long, they need the material to make it into a best seller: Call of Duty West/Zampella at war

blackace
blackace

@mkdoomfan2 @blackace where did you get that information if i may ask? ************************************************************************ What information? Activision draining Respawn Entertainment? or Treyarch finishing Black Ops after Inifinity Ward left? I'm just reading between the lines. It seems obvious that Activision wants to delay going to court and drag EA into it to make Respawn spend more money on attorneys and fees. Which will take them away from making new games and funding them. I don't get Activision. They fire these guys and make a billion off their games, yet they still want to sue them because the rest of the team left Activision to work with Respawn. I honestly think they are pissed because the key people who made Cod and MW games great aren't with them anymore and they know when their current developers start making the next MW or CoD game, it won't be as great and they will most likely lose millions. I blame Activision for treating their developers like @#$%. All Activision needed to do was pay them what they wanted and step back and watch them work their magic.

gerhardtscriven
gerhardtscriven

If Activision would focus on the games they are publishing, rather than this type of crap, maybe games like Black Ops would have been worth playing.

Taix34
Taix34

@RaddaRaddaRadda So True

ActionManly
ActionManly

@linkinparkox11, well, Activision might not hate America, but they're the reason why everyone else does. @GravityDs, upbeat like Nintendo? *cough*VALVE*/cough*