Update: Activision responds
Original story: This story is getting uglier and uglier. Jason West and Vince Zampella are suing Activision. The Infinity Ward bosses fired by the publisher earlier this week are pursuing litigation for wrongful dismissal, unpaid royalties and the right to control “Modern Warfare-branded games”.
On Tuesday it was reported that Zampella and West were removed from their roles following the arrival of “a bunch of bouncer”-types at the company’s headquarters. It was later revealed that Activision had launched an investigation into “into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward.”
Via their attorney, Robert Schwartz, West and Zampell have today issued a strongly-worded statement in response to those claims.
The statement claims that the pair’s work on the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare series has created “two of the most successful videogames in history” and, rather grandly, “the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public”.
It continues, “Activision terminated their (West and Zempella’s) employment weeks before they were to be paid substantial royalty payments as part of their existing contracts for Modern Warfare 2.”
“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.”
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.”
Zampella added, “After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid.”
The statement concludes by saying, “Activision seized control of the Infinity Ward studio, to which Activision had previously granted creative control over all Modern Warfare-branded games. 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.”
Get comfortable, kids. This story is going to run for a long time.