According to an official announcement, IW president Vince Zampella and CTO Jason West were terminated by the publisher “weeks” ahead of receiving royalties owed to them for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
“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.”
The lawsuit alleges “breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrong termination in violation of public policy, and declaratory relief”, and sees the pair suing Activision for compensation for MW2, as well as some contractual rights which were allegedly granted to them.
Those rights are kind of a big deal here, as they relate to West and Zampella’s ability to control “Modern Warfare-branded games” – if they’re successful, this hints that we may see the MW name used outside of Activision. I don’t really see that one going over too easily.
A lawyer for West and Zampella explains the rationale:
“Activision has refused to honor the terms of its agreements and is intentionally flouting the fundamental public policy of this State (California) that employers must pay their employees what they have rightfully earned.
“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.”
This was never a story that was going to go away quietly, but this is an interesting new direction. We’ll keep an eye out as it unfolds, and continue to bring you the latest in this Fall of Duty saga.
(As always, thanks to G4TV and Patrick Klepek for finding these details.)