In a unique twist in the lawsuit between Activision and Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, Activsion is turning its attacks toward Electronic Arts, claiming the company helped push the duo into sabotaging the company's works and preparing to leave Activision for EA.
In early 2010, not half a year following the release of Infinity Ward's latest Modern Warfare title, Activision-Blizzard fired both heads of the company, citing what the two claim are false accusations and used only as a means to prevent paying massive bonuses for the game's sales. Following the removal of West and Zampella, a large group of Infinity Ward's development team left with the two and formed Respawn Entertainment through EA. A lawsuit is currently in progress regarding West and Zampella's removal from Activision, not to mention the lack of bonuses and stock options a number of employees were promised for sales of MW2 during Q1 2010.
Activision has finally come forth with a counter complaint against EA and the ex-Infinity Ward heads, claiming that they, "with full knowledge that the executives were under contract and legally committed to Activision for more than two additional years--conspired to set up an independent company."
According to the company's evidence, West and Zampella were brought by jet to have a meeting with EA CEO John Riccitiello, where they stated that they had over two years remaining on their exclusive contract with Activision. Since having a number of meetings and conversations with EA members, Activision claims that the duo had started to act against their contract agreements and act in such a way as to harm Infinity Ward and Activision as much as possible in order to be fired and work with EA as a result.
One such example involved stock options. Both West and Zampella were allegedly contacted by Activision to provide a list of all team members who would earn millions of dollars in stock grants in connection with the development of a Wii version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but the two refused to provide a list and, in a number of occasions, apparently requested that all stock benefits and the like be given to only the two heads.
EA has stated that this is clearly a false PR attack, when the lawsuit is strictly for the fired developers to get what money they earned from Activision.
This is going to be an interesting lawsuit come 2011.