PDA

View Full Version : Weird shit going down at Activision/Infinity Ward...



Humphrey_Lee
03-01-2010, 09:07 PM
http://kotaku.com/5483348/report-strange-things-are-afoot-at-infinity-ward


I don't know what the hell all this means, but if it furthers the demise of the sinking ship that Activision is becoming and shits in the cereal of career douchebag Bobby Kotick, more power to it. I don't even really care for the Modern Warfare games, but Infinity Ward is too good to be saddled with such a shitty company and boss.

JamesV
03-01-2010, 09:17 PM
There seems to be two thoughts at the moment:

One this is a PR stunt to tease something and distract from Bad Company

or

Two, Bobby Kotick needed to eat some faces today.

Ashwin Pande
03-01-2010, 09:20 PM
If their top brass or staff is fired they really shouldn't be too worried. I mean, they only made, what, the best selling, most critically acclaimed game of all time? People will be lined up to invest in them.

Fygar
03-01-2010, 09:21 PM
That's pretty messed up right there.

Humphrey_Lee
03-01-2010, 09:22 PM
There seems to be two thoughts at the moment:

One this is a PR stunt to tease something and distract from Bad Company

or

Two, Bobby Kotick needed to eat some faces today.


Given the current climate of the company, the fact that it was pretty much always understood IW was going to break off on their own at some point, and the jabs that IW has always taken at Kotick, I think shit just finally came to a head. I would personally love this, because I like watching Activision fail. Too bad as long as WoW is around, they will always survive on it alone.

Humphrey_Lee
03-01-2010, 09:23 PM
If their top brass or staff is fired they really shouldn't be too worried. I mean, they only made, what, the best selling, most critically acclaimed game of all time? People will be lined up to invest in them.


Yeah, exactly. Like I said, I don't get MW, it's not my bag, but the guys at IW are obviously talented and deserve better than to deal with Kotick's bullshit. If shit's coming to a head early, it's probably all the better for them.

Briomega
03-01-2010, 09:26 PM
If it's a response to the glitched up/hacked up/fucked up mess that MW2 online multiplayer is, I don't blame Activision at all.

Can't really think of any reason why something like this would be going on, other than that.

JamesV
03-01-2010, 10:05 PM
Kotaku updated with this:


Update: And now things are stranger. Kotaku commenter VasectomyOmega dropped the following into the discussion below.

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2010/03/500x_jason_west_01.jpg

That's supposedly from Modern Warfare 2 game director and Infinity Ward president Jason West's Facebook page. We're trying to verify.

West's LinkedIn profile indicates he is no longer working at Infinity Ward as of March 2010. Could Infinity Ward's top brass been given the heave ho?

Briomega
03-01-2010, 10:30 PM
From the original story on G4:
(http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702911/Security-Appears-Unannounced-At-Infinity-Ward-Studio-Heads-Missing-Staff-Freaked-Out-.html)

UPDATE 11:20 PM: It turns out Activision may have showed their hand in this matter earlier today.

In an SEC filing made earlier today (http://investor.activision.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1047469-10-1649), Activision cited a human resources investigation into "into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward."

Based on the information we currently have, at least one of those employees may have included Infinity Ward CTO Jason West. It's possible Vince Zampella is the other unmentioned employee.

"This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation," read the Activision's filing. "At present, the Company does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the Company."

JamesV
03-01-2010, 10:39 PM
From the original story on G4:
(http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702911/Security-Appears-Unannounced-At-Infinity-Ward-Studio-Heads-Missing-Staff-Freaked-Out-.html)

Man this is crazy.

Briomega
03-01-2010, 10:46 PM
Man this is crazy.

Very. It was already heavily rumored that another company (not Treyarch) was going to be making MW3, so I can't imagine it's related to that. Given the timing, I'm wondering if it's related to MW2 DLC. Or they planned to walk out like they did years ago when they founded IW. But, with NDA's and lawsuits, we probably won't know anything for sure for awhile.

noble
03-02-2010, 01:32 AM
Looks like I was right about Activision turning their gaze towards destroying Call of Duty next.

Just didn't think it'd be this soon.


I need Pachter's job :p

evilgenius
03-02-2010, 02:24 AM
From the original story on G4:
(http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702911/Security-Appears-Unannounced-At-Infinity-Ward-Studio-Heads-Missing-Staff-Freaked-Out-.html)

I hate it when Company is written with a capital C like that. I wish they'd just go all out and write The Company, making it a true monolithic entity instead of just pointing to something that MIGHT be a name.

... I love you Weyland-Yutani :(

Mikie
03-02-2010, 02:37 AM
Since when did unprecedented success not equal job security? Am I just that naive?

noble
03-02-2010, 02:54 AM
Since when did unprecedented success not equal job security? Am I just that naive?

They did the same thing with Neversoft.

Company was responsible for the billion dollar Guitar Hero games, and they just recently sacked the entire company.

I knew they were going to start self destructing the COD series like they did with GH just not this quickly.

I have no idea what Acti is thinking these days.

Bandit Chimera
03-02-2010, 02:57 AM
Well we can only speculate why these guys might be fired but if they did something wrong or breached contract then maybe activision is in the right here. Until we know anything there is really only gonna be a shitstorm of guessing and activision hate which seems silly to me.

Mikie
03-02-2010, 03:02 AM
They did the same thing with Neversoft.

Company was responsible for the billion dollar Guitar Hero games, and they just recently sacked the entire company.

I knew they were going to start self destructing the COD series like they did with GH just not this quickly.

I have no idea what Acti is thinking these days.

I thought the original Guitar Hero people left to start Rock Band.

noble
03-02-2010, 03:09 AM
Yeah they did.

Neversoft took over with GH3 which was the biggest selling GH to date, and they've been doing it ever since.

You could argue that GH3 was as big as it was because of the work HMX did on GH1-2, but they were still the developers for the biggest games in the franchise's history.

BenH
03-02-2010, 05:45 AM
I'm a fan of Infinity Ward and I'm sure they're pissed at Activision shackling them to the Call of Duty franchise (which I love) and cranking out Treyarch editions (which I hate), but this SEC thing sounds very serious and not like something Activision would do out of spite or a power play.

My guess is that the IW people actually perpetrated some major transgression. Could be a stupid unintended slip-up, could be pilfering some company resources while planning to break out on their own. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Evan the Shaggy
03-02-2010, 05:55 AM
What I imagine Activision's train of thought is:

Step 1: Hire a good group of creators to make an award winning game
Step 2: Based on success of original game, fire original "good" creators and hire much cheaper "mediocre" creators to work on a sequel that will sell based on name recognition alone, regardless of quality.
Step 3: Rinse repeat on new franchises.

Ryudo
03-02-2010, 06:06 AM
Coming up next: Modern Warfare 3, developed by Blizzard.

"We have to make it through this instance to get to the Korean War!"

PatrickA
03-02-2010, 06:08 AM
I'm a fan of Infinity Ward and I'm sure they're pissed at Activision shackling them to the Call of Duty franchise (which I love) and cranking out Treyarch editions (which I hate), but this SEC thing sounds very serious and not like something Activision would do out of spite or a power play.

My guess is that the IW people actually perpetrated some major transgression. Could be a stupid unintended slip-up, could be pilfering some company resources while planning to break out on their own. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.



yeah...the SEC thing makes this weird.

Humphrey_Lee
03-02-2010, 06:12 AM
Looks like two of the top guys for IW are out for insubordination. http://kotaku.com/5483427/activision-cites-infinity-ward-insubordination

There seems to be some fan speculation that Activision wanted whatever crappy DLC IW could whip out in time for the Bad Company 2 release to try and kill EA's buzz on that. Dunno if something like that would warrant a tiff big enough to lead to this kind of action. Again, I just think Kotick and Activision's BS finally just pushed some of these guys too far and shit finally hit the fan.

Matt Jay
03-02-2010, 06:13 AM
I'm assuming the "insubordination" was these two guys plotting to break from Activision and take as much of the talent with them as possible. Assuming that Activision had some evidence of this, I can't really blame them for doing this.

It's a shame because MW games were quality experiences (the campaign for the first one is possibly the best single player campaign I've ever played). MW games will probably suck now, but the talent will move on and do great things on some other IP.

PatrickA
03-02-2010, 06:30 AM
yeah...the SEC thing makes this weird.

Actually, it occurs to me that as a publicly held company Activision may have to file with the SEC when they make a big leadership move like this. I'm not sure.

Thomas Mauer
03-02-2010, 06:33 AM
I'm a fan of Infinity Ward and I'm sure they're pissed at Activision shackling them to the Call of Duty franchise (which I love) and cranking out Treyarch editions (which I hate), but this SEC thing sounds very serious and not like something Activision would do out of spite or a power play.

My guess is that the IW people actually perpetrated some major transgression. Could be a stupid unintended slip-up, could be pilfering some company resources while planning to break out on their own. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Don't blame them just yet. This is from the comments in another Kotaku post: http://kotaku.com/5483492/scandal-hits-call-of-duty-devs-what-we-know?skyline=true&s=i


The_Traveler 08:38 AM

My gf is an attorney who specializes in executive compensation and I asked her what all this means. This is what she told me: Any time a publicly traded company fires ("discharges") a senior executive, it must file with the SEC. She also pointed to these two lines in the linked SEC filing (the 10-K):

"The Company is concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward. This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation. At present, the Company does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the Company."

According to my gf, this means that Activision is terminating the executive "for cause." What this really means is that Activision will not have to pay any severance. And, it is typical in firings "for cause" to cite things like "insubordination" or "breach of contract." (By contrast, if a company fires executives "without cause," companies then usually owe a sizable severance package the fired executive.) Having said all that, my gf says that it is really hard to fire an executive "with cause," so we'll have to see what happens next.

JamesV
03-02-2010, 01:06 PM
Looks like I was right about Activision turning their gaze towards destroying Call of Duty next.

Just didn't think it'd be this soon.


I need Pachter's job :p

And here we go!


Activision announced it will form a "dedicated [Call of Duty] business unit that will bring together its various new brand initiatives with focused, dedicated resources around the world." It plans to expand the Call of Duty brand "with the same focus seen in its Blizzard Entertainment business unit" placing a focus on "high-margin digital online content and further the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models."

As previously announced, Activision will release a new Call of Duty game from series co-developer Treyarch, responsible for Call of Duty 3 and Call of Duty: World At War, this fall. Developer Infinity Ward is still scheduled to release two downloadable map packs for Modern Warfare 2 this year.

In 2011, Activision will release another new Call of Duty game from Sledgehammer Games, the recently formed studio lead by Dead Space creative leads Glen A. Schofield and Michael Condrey. The title will "extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre."

The previously mentioned Call of Duty business unit will be led by Philip Earl, who currently runs Activision Publishing's Asia Pacific region. Activision Publishing's Steve Pearce, chief technology officer, and Steve Ackrich, head of production, will lead Infinity Ward on an interim basis. Former studios heads Jason West and Vince Zampella are no longer with Infinity Ward, officially.

http://kotaku.com/5484026/activisions-new-plans-for-call-of-duty-include-new-developer-new-genres

JamesV
03-02-2010, 01:08 PM
Simmering problems between Activision and Modern Warfare 2 development studio Infinity Ward — involving the creative direction of the Call of Duty series — may have come to a head with yesterday's dismissal of IW's two studio heads.

The reasons for the dismissal of Jason West and Vince Zampella, the top two men at Infinity Ward remain murky a day after the news broke that there was a shake-up at the Activision-owned studio. The publisher, in a financial filing, only vaguely referred to "insubordination" and "breach of contract".

But in the past 24 hours the long-rumored problems between Activison and IW have come a little more clearly to light. A source familiar with the studio told Kotaku that Infinity Ward has long bristled at the notion of any studio other than IW making a Call of Duty game. The studio heads' renewed 2009 contract with Activision affirmed that only Infinity Ward would be allowed to make Call of Duty games set in the modern era, according to the source.

Infinity Ward's two most recent games were 2007's Call of Duty IV: Modern Warfare and 2009's Modern Warfdare 2. In between, Activision-owned Treyarch developed Call of Duty: World At War and is expected to making 2010's Call of Duty, keeping with Activision's annual Call of Duty cycle. Infinity Ward, according to conversations Kotaku has had with employees at the studio in the past, is a one-game studio and one committed to two-year cycles. For IW, making a Call of Duty annually would not have been consistent with the studio's current structure. (Tensions between the studios flared up in public online close to the release of World at War.)

Kotaku has continued to hear from sources that Infinity Ward wanted to make either a new intellectual property or a game set in the future — the two projects might be one and the same — but that Activision resisted that.

Tensions between Infinity Ward and Activision had intensified in recent months to the point that IW would only deal with two employees from the publisher, according to Kotaku sources.

It's unclear if disagreements about creative direction are what finally led to West and Zampella's dismissal. But those disagreements appear to have contributed to the frailty of the relationship between publisher and studio that led to yesterday's breaking point.

http://kotaku.com/5484046/infinity-ward-vs-activision-the-battle-for-creative-direction

Matt Jay
03-02-2010, 01:09 PM
And here we go!



http://kotaku.com/5484026/activisions-new-plans-for-call-of-duty-include-new-developer-new-genres

Wow, they're going to run it into the ground.

JamesV
03-02-2010, 01:10 PM
Wow, they're going to run it into the ground.

I look forward to Call of Duty: Puzzle Shooter Dance Off..

Jim.
03-02-2010, 02:02 PM
Enjoy your MMO guys!

Maestro
03-02-2010, 02:04 PM
I'm glad I have the Battlefield series now. *hugs Bad Company 2*

Briomega
03-02-2010, 02:06 PM
The funniest part is they are talking about the future of the "franchise" and their game is still horrendously broken. :lol:

noble
03-02-2010, 02:15 PM
"Hey guys I got a great idea!
We've got these two franchises that are making us billions of dollars right?

So check this out!

Step 1 : Let's take the studios responsible for making these two franchises hits and fire them all!

Step 2 : ?


Step 3 : Huuuuge profit!

We can't lose!

Activision high five!"


:lol:

Briomega
03-02-2010, 02:35 PM
"Hey guys I got a great idea!
We've got these two franchises that are making us billions of dollars right?

So check this out!

Step 1 : Let's take the studios responsible for making these two franchises hits and fire them all!

Step 2 : ?


Step 3 : Huuuuge profit!

We can't lose!

Activision high five!"


:lol:

Videogames are not like Movies or Books or other media. The vast majority of people do not give a shit about who develops the game. Most have no idea that Call of Duty World at War and Call of Duty Modern Warfare are made by different people. It's one of the reasons why they ended up putting the CoD tag back onto MW2 after taking it off for awhile. People care about the title of the game more than who made it.

Thomas Mauer
03-02-2010, 03:01 PM
And here we go!



http://kotaku.com/5484026/activisions-new-plans-for-call-of-duty-include-new-developer-new-genres

God damn it, I hated their PC non-support for MW2, and hated that clusterfuck of a super short single player campaign even more. This does it. I'm not touching any other CoD games from now on.

Ashwin Pande
03-02-2010, 03:07 PM
How the hell do you make an action-adventure game out of CoD?

Thomas Mauer
03-02-2010, 03:13 PM
How the hell do you make an action-adventure game out of CoD?

You focus on a guy in a maintenance company who gets thrown into the frontline mix, and he has to use his wits and mechanical training to get himself and the rest of the gang out of harm's way. But with less platforming than in Tomb Raider.

Ashwin Pande
03-02-2010, 03:16 PM
You focus on a guy in a maintenance company who gets thrown into the frontline mix, and he has to use his wits and mechanical training to get himself and the rest of the gang out of harm's way. But with less platforming than in Tomb Raider.

"It's a-me, Mario and I'm-a gonna kill these-a Russian terrorist assholes-a!"

Whip
03-02-2010, 03:23 PM
"It's a-me, Mario and I'm-a gonna kill these-a Russian terrorist assholes-a!"

Over 20 million sold.

Akira
03-02-2010, 03:52 PM
How the hell do you make an action-adventure game out of CoD?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6f/Freedom_Fighters.jpg

Thomas Mauer
03-02-2010, 03:53 PM
"It's a-me, Mario and I'm-a gonna kill these-a Russian terrorist assholes-a!"

Haha, yeah!

Wait a sec.

Hey, fuck you, I was in maintenance! :mad:

Akira
03-02-2010, 03:53 PM
You focus on a guy in a maintenance company who gets thrown into the frontline mix, and he has to use his wits and mechanical training to get himself and the rest of the gang out of harm's way. But with less platforming than in Tomb Raider.


"It's a-me, Mario and I'm-a gonna kill these-a Russian terrorist assholes-a!"


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6f/Freedom_Fighters.jpg

Great minds think alike.

Ashwin Pande
03-02-2010, 03:55 PM
Great minds think alike.

Ha!! That game really was Mario meets Call of Duty!!

That's also one of my favorite games.

Briomega
03-02-2010, 03:58 PM
How the hell do you make an action-adventure game out of CoD?

I imagine they looked at Uncharted 2 and figured they could shoe-horn something into that and slap a Call of Duty title on to it. It's really not that far-fetched. A great many people play Call of Duty only for the single-player campaign so making something that focuses totally on that makes a lot of sense even if hardcore players wouldn't like it.

Thomas Mauer
03-02-2010, 03:58 PM
Why have I never heard of this game?! Will have to check if it's on the PC.

Thomas Mauer
03-02-2010, 04:00 PM
I imagine they looked at Uncharted 2 and figured they could shoe-horn something into that and slap a Call of Duty title on to it. It's really not that far-fetched. A great many people play Call of Duty only for the single-player campaign so making something that focuses totally on that makes a lot of sense even if hardcore players wouldn't like it.

I *was* the hardcore CoD player - when it was still about the single player campaign first and foremost, and the multiplayer was tacked on. Have to say this shift to more and more online content with suffering single player is troubling to a story-minded gamer. So jumping off the bandwagon now isn't very hard.

Ashwin Pande
03-02-2010, 04:01 PM
Why have I never heard of this game?! Will have to check if it's on the PC.

It's on the PC and it is awesome! Seriously, one of my favorite games to replay.

Briomega
03-02-2010, 04:08 PM
I *was* the hardcore CoD player - when it was still about the single player campaign first and foremost, and the multiplayer was tacked on. Have to say this shift to more and more online content with suffering single player is troubling to a story-minded gamer. So jumping off the bandwagon now isn't very hard.

I kind of liked what Ubisoft once did with some of the Clancy games. They basically had one development team do the single-player game and an entirely different team do the multiplayer game.

CougarTrace
03-02-2010, 04:13 PM
How the hell do you make an action-adventure game out of CoD?

actually I think this really could work in the WWII era and the modern era game

Ashwin Pande
03-02-2010, 04:14 PM
Why have I never heard of this game?! Will have to check if it's on the PC.

Oh and being a history nerd you might enjoy the idea of the story. It takes place in a world where the Soviet Union didn't back down during the Cuban Missile Crisis and systematically became more powerful during the latter half of the 20th century. Eventually leading to a full blown invasion of the American East Coast.

The main character is a plumber who grows to become the figurehead for the second American revolution in New York.

The funny part is that he's a plumber who has a fat mustachioed brother.

So, the game is Luigi versus the Red Army.

Thomas Mauer
03-02-2010, 04:17 PM
hahaha, that sounds awesome. I saw on GameSpot that the game has a 9.3 rating from them. Too bad it's not on Steam. Will have to hunt online elsewhere. And I saw a sequel was canceled! :(

Ashwin Pande
03-02-2010, 04:18 PM
AND Alex Maleev did that cover art!

Ashwin Pande
03-02-2010, 04:20 PM
hahaha, that sounds awesome. I saw on GameSpot that the game has a 9.3 rating from them. Too bad it's not on Steam. Will have to hunt online elsewhere. And I saw a sequel was canceled! :(

Yeah. I was really looking forward to the sequel too. Rumours keep popping up on the net that it's being made, it's not being made, etc but after all this time I imagine interest in it has gone away.

Humphrey_Lee
03-02-2010, 08:49 PM
Videogames are not like Movies or Books or other media. The vast majority of people do not give a shit about who develops the game. Most have no idea that Call of Duty World at War and Call of Duty Modern Warfare are made by different people. It's one of the reasons why they ended up putting the CoD tag back onto MW2 after taking it off for awhile. People care about the title of the game more than who made it.


That's true but kind of not. The vast majority of people don't pay attention to development studios like us dedicated gamers might, but they notice. All my "casual" gaming friends who are the typical demographic (they buy Madden and CoD and pretty much play those all year) couldn't tell you who the hell Infinity Ward is if you asked them, but they can definitely tell you the guys who made World at War were not the same guys who made Modern Warfare. They can recognize the difference in in the finished product even if they cannot name who made it. And I bet if next time I went into work and told them that a studio more like the one that made World at War is going to be making Modern Warfare now instead, and they'll be cranking them out every single year, they'd probably noticeably groan a little. I imagine IW will still make some great stuff even with this going down, but I also see a lot of defections in the future too.

Akira
03-03-2010, 08:37 AM
Videogames are not like Movies or Books or other media. The vast majority of people do not give a shit about who develops the game. Most have no idea that Call of Duty World at War and Call of Duty Modern Warfare are made by different people. It's one of the reasons why they ended up putting the CoD tag back onto MW2 after taking it off for awhile. People care about the title of the game more than who made it.

It's true to some extent, but not entirely. If this were 100% true, Kojima would've been allowed to retire from the MGS series like he wanted to after part 2 instead of being constantly cajoled by Konami to stick on it and not make other games he's been dying to make. Also, no one would care about Metroid: Other M nearly as much as they do now.

Ryudo
03-03-2010, 08:39 AM
I care whether or not Miyamoto makes a game.

DC Camel
03-03-2010, 09:12 AM
Too bad they never followed up on Freedom Fighters. Game had great gameplay and style and was setup for a sequel. For its time it did squad based combat in a way alot games after emulated.

Rosdower 3.0
03-03-2010, 09:13 AM
Videogames are not like Movies or Books or other media. The vast majority of people do not give a shit about who develops the game. Most have no idea that Call of Duty World at War and Call of Duty Modern Warfare are made by different people. It's one of the reasons why they ended up putting the CoD tag back onto MW2 after taking it off for awhile. People care about the title of the game more than who made it.

But when the quality of the game(s) drop, people will notice. Or when the market is over-saturated with various sequels and spinoffs.

Matt Jay
03-03-2010, 10:27 AM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6f/Freedom_Fighters.jpg

Oh my god, this game was fucking AMAZING. I can't believe it still hasn't spawned a sequel and no game has successfully stolen its mechanics.

TheKraken
03-03-2010, 10:58 AM
All I care about is Blizzard. I don't think Kotick can fuck with them too much due to the nature of their deal, but I worry that Activision's insanity will bring them down by association...

noble
03-03-2010, 01:13 PM
But when the quality of the game(s) drop, people will notice. Or when the market is over-saturated with various sequels and spinoffs.



Circa Tony Hawk and Guitar hero...both giant, genre defining, cultural phenoms in their time...both killed by Activision.

Briomega
03-03-2010, 09:08 PM
Infinity Ward Founders Suing Activision Over Unpaid Royalties (http://kotaku.com/5485295/infinity-ward-founders-suing-activision-over-unpaid-royalties):


Jason West and Vince Zampella, the men at the centre of this week's drama at Call of Duty developers Infinity Ward, have filed suit against Activision over claims they are owed "substantial royalty payments".

"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," said the pair's attorney, Robert Schwartz, of law firm O'Melveny & Myers. "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 and Zampella are coming out swinging. "We were shocked by Activision's decision to terminate our contract," Jason West says. "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."

"After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn't have to sue to get paid", Zampella adds.

Interestingly, in addition to seeking the unpaid royalties, the pair are also after "the contractual rights Activision granted to West and Zampella to control Modern Warfare-branded games". Whether that means they want to make "Modern Warfare" games without Activision, or would seek to have the brand buried if it's without their input, is unclear. We'll update when we hear more.

Mikie
03-03-2010, 10:31 PM
Infinity Ward Founders Suing Activision Over Unpaid Royalties (http://kotaku.com/5485295/infinity-ward-founders-suing-activision-over-unpaid-royalties):

And suddenly this whole thing makes a shitload more sense.

evilgenius
03-04-2010, 02:51 AM
All I care about is Blizzard. I don't think Kotick can fuck with them too much due to the nature of their deal, but I worry that Activision's insanity will bring them down by association...

When they fucked over the company that made one of their most profitable franchises, that deal might not be enough to protect them.

Expect at the very least the possibility of some tomfoolery.

Kirblar
03-04-2010, 03:32 AM
When they fucked over the company that made one of their most profitable franchises, that deal might not be enough to protect them.

Expect at the very least the possibility of some tomfoolery.
Blizzard has the pull to pretty much tell them to fuck off. Activision knows not to bite the hand that feeds them.

noble
03-04-2010, 04:35 AM
Blizzard has the pull to pretty much tell them to fuck off. Activision knows not to bite the hand that feeds them.

It seems since Acti torpedoed GH, and Call of Duty seems to be in a precarious position, Blizzard might be the ONLY hand that is feeding them in the near future.

CougarTrace
03-04-2010, 05:45 AM
well its a he said/she said thing right now

we just dont know what is really going on or who is telling the whole truth

JamesV
03-04-2010, 05:55 AM
well its a he said/she said thing right now

we just dont know what is really going on or who is telling the whole truth

When a person routinely takes shits on the bathroom floor of his office, and brags about it, that man does not get the benefit of the doubt the next time there is shit on the bathroom floor.

CougarTrace
03-04-2010, 06:14 AM
When a person routinely takes shits on the bathroom floor of his office, and brags about it, that man does not get the benefit of the doubt the next time there is shit on the bathroom floor.

fair enough but something tells me not all parties are innocent and the truth will never come out because of the legal issues

Briomega
03-04-2010, 12:57 PM
fair enough but something tells me not all parties are innocent and the truth will never come out because of the legal issues

I think it's reasonable to say that there's a lot more to this story (http://kotaku.com/5485843/activision-disappointed-by-infinity-ward-founders-meritless-lawsuit) than we know.


The world's biggest video game publisher doesn't take allegations of "Orwellian" investigations and unfair dismissals in silence. Activision has responded to the lawsuit filed by Jason West and Vince Zampella, the ousted former heads of Modern Warfare 2-maker Infinity Ward.

"Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless," the company said in a statement e-mailed to Kotaku by a spokesperson. "Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

"In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans."

West and Zampella, who were fired by Activision from the company's Infinity Ward studio on Monday for as-yet undisclosed "insubordination," are seeking in excess of $36 million. G4, which broke the news of the brewing trouble at Activision, reported today that Activision is seeking documents regarding West and Zampella's communications with other companies, including Activision rival Electronic Arts. As recently as last month, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick (pictured above) made it clear there was no love lost between his company and EA.

Humphrey_Lee
03-04-2010, 08:12 PM
fair enough but something tells me not all parties are innocent and the truth will never come out because of the legal issues


I think the gents who got canned are probably not without sin, but I have a feeling they committed theirs with much provocation. I'm thinking that Activision probably is on fault for these royalties, holding them "hostage" as they were pushing Infinity Ward to do more CoD stuff as they were making this push to saturate the franchise. That's probably what prompted these guys to finally just say "Fuck it' and shop their new IP to a different publisher and go into breach of contract. Kotick pressing the douche button and doing what he did on Monday just brought this all to a head. This is going to be fucking bloody as time rolls on. Especially once these guys sign with someone *coughEAcough* and the inevitable defections from the IW rank and file left behind start to rear their heads.

Matt Jay
03-05-2010, 06:34 AM
I think it's reasonable to say that there's a lot more to this story (http://kotaku.com/5485843/activision-disappointed-by-infinity-ward-founders-meritless-lawsuit) than we know.

After reading what each teams lawyers had to say on Destructoid, it seems like Activision has the weaker story. The fact that they're doing a document production request for potential communications with rivals, without explicitly making an accusation that they were attempting to jump ship, tells me that they have no evidence for it. Just being greedy bastards hoping to get a settlement lower than what they would have had to pay for the bonuses.

Briomega
03-05-2010, 12:50 PM
After reading what each teams lawyers had to say on Destructoid, it seems like Activision has the weaker story. The fact that they're doing a document production request for potential communications with rivals, without explicitly making an accusation that they were attempting to jump ship, tells me that they have no evidence for it. Just being greedy bastards hoping to get a settlement lower than what they would have had to pay for the bonuses.

I don't know. I think ultimately it's going to drag out and eventually be settled, more than likely with an agreement that neither party can talk about it. So we probably may never know the full story.

Humphrey_Lee
03-06-2010, 08:37 AM
I don't know. I think ultimately it's going to drag out and eventually be settled, more than likely with an agreement that neither party can talk about it. So we probably may never know the full story.


We won't know the full story, yeah, but we can probably already see the end result, which is that EA is probably going to see the top two guys responsible for the most successful game of all time in their camp, probably with a significant amount of staff defecting once they sign a deal, and Activision is about to go into full saturation mode on the CoD franchise which will successfully make it their new Guitar Hero. Someone needs to thank their lucky stars they have Blizzard and WoW to lean on.

Bill!
03-06-2010, 09:13 AM
Everyone knows that Activision has become the evil empire of the industry, and firing the creators of one of the companies best games, for "insubordination" (see creative differences), then its pretty simple.

Ryudo
03-12-2010, 05:07 AM
http://kotaku.com/5491675/rumor-why-call-of-duty-developers-are-sticking-around


With studio heads at Infinity Ward, the developer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and its sequel, no longer employed, you'd think all those remaining at the company would be leaving in mass exodus. They're not, apparently, and here's why.

Sources tell Kotaku that Modern Warfare publisher Activision is delaying paying Infinity Ward employees their royalties. Every employee who worked on Modern Warfare 2 is apparently in for royalties. Traditionally, Infinity Ward has paid staff regular or even "low" salaries, sources tell Kotaku, but offer ridiculous royalties to compensate.

Earlier this month, Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, the men at the center of the Call of Duty developer drama, filed suit against Activision over claims they are owed "substantial royalty payments".

"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," said the pair's attorney, Robert Schwartz, of law firm O'Melveny & Myers earlier this month. "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."

There have been rumors that Infinity Ward had been courting EA and other publishers before this brouhaha broke.

Sources tell Kotaku that Activision continues to delay royalties to other employees in order to keep them at the company. The morale at Infinity Ward is reportedly extremely low.

Last fall, Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 launched, racking up, as this past January, over a billion dollars in sales.

Kotaku is following up with Activision and will update this post should the company comment.

Ryudo
04-28-2010, 06:02 AM
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/04/infinity-ward-staff-sues-activision-for-500-million.ars


The fallout between Infinity Ward and Activision has taken yet another dramatic turn, as a large number of IW employees—both current and former—have filed a class-action lawsuit against the publisher for between $75 million and $125 million in unpaid bonuses.

The report comes via G4tv.com, which has obtained a copy of the lawsuit being filed by 38 people referring to themselves as the Infinity Ward Employee Group. The suit alleges that Activision breached a contract by not paying the entirety of the royalties due to employees after the success of Modern Warfare 2.

According to the report, Activision has paid $28 million in royalties so far, but still owes $54 million for 2009, as well as other bonuses based on the first quarter of 2010. The group is also seeking $75 million to $500 million in punitive damages.

"Activision owes my clients approximately $75 million to $125 million dollars," attorney Bruce Isaacs told G4. "Activision has withheld most of the money to force many of my people to stay, some against their will, so that they would finish the delivery of Modern Warfare 3. That is not what they wanted to do. Many of them. My clients [are] entitled to their money. Activision has no right to withhold their money—our money."
Employees continue to leave

Up until now, a total of 26 employees have left Infinity Ward, which means that at least 12 members of the Employee Group are still with the studio. Previously, Activision spokesman Dan Amrich said that employees who leave the studio would be giving up their bonus, and that "the more people that leave, the bigger the bonus gets for the people who stay." In light of allegations that the money was being held as a kind of ransom to get employees to stay, those statements look rather damning.

Many of the departed Infinity Ward developers have found a new home at Respawn Entertainment.

Activision, for its part, believes it has done nothing wrong. "Activision believes the action is without merit. Activision retains the discretion to determine the amount and the schedule of bonus payments for MW2 and has acted consistent with its rights and the law at all times. We look forward to getting judicial confirmation that our position is right," the company responded in a statement.

noble
04-28-2010, 06:11 AM
I wonder how long it's going to be before Blizzard wants out of the merger?

I mean Activision's 3 biggest money makers are argueably Tony Hawk, which they have pretty much buried, Guitar Hero which they assraped into submission late last year, and Call of Duty, which is self destructing as we speak.

Blizzard is going to be dragged down by Activision's stupidity if they don't watch it.

Hyperstorm
04-28-2010, 08:58 PM
Remember when reporters had to have all the facts rather than half baked rumours and speculations before they went to press with stories?

I miss those days.

ernster
04-28-2010, 09:00 PM
weren't these guys at EA previously working on the medal of honor series?

Humphrey_Lee
04-28-2010, 09:10 PM
Remember when reporters had to have all the facts rather than half baked rumours and speculations before they went to press with stories?

I miss those days.

The problem with situations like these is no one may know what the details may be, even years after all the smoke clears, unless someone(s) come out and say exactly what went down, but even then the other side will do what they can to contradict what the other side says. But, come on, it really is looking quite clear what is going down here. Hell, between the defection stories and the lawsuit now, basically what I typed here six weeks ago pretty much looks like the case. The fact that after the top two guys went, and were the target of Activision's lawsuit, that now 26 more have left IW and defected to Respawn speaks volumes that it was Activision's tactics that caused this to happen, not just two guys being uppity. They promised this team big royalties for pushing out MW2, and they did, and they were using them to strong arm them into continuing to work on the property even though they fulfilled their obligation and didn't even want to work on the product in the first place. It's scummy business practice from a company that has been exemplifying them for several years now. Now it's so happens it's on the tail end of the biggest selling game of all time, so it's catching a shitton of press.

noble
04-29-2010, 01:41 AM
weren't these guys at EA previously working on the medal of honor series?

Yeah they left EA(back when EA was king Douchebag of the video game world) and formed Infinity ward.

Now it seems things have come full circle.

Which makes me wonder if EA are going to start becoming Douchebags again, this whole Fiasco forces Acti to become kinder and gentler to their developers(like EA is now), and then they get pissed at whatever EA is doing 10 years from now and defect back to happy Activision :surrend:

Humphrey_Lee
04-29-2010, 09:00 AM
Yeah they left EA(back when EA was king Douchebag of the video game world) and formed Infinity ward.

Now it seems things have come full circle.

Which makes me wonder if EA are going to start becoming Douchebags again, this whole Fiasco forces Acti to become kinder and gentler to their developers(like EA is now), and then they get pissed at whatever EA is doing 10 years from now and defect back to happy Activision :surrend:

EA doesn't have a king asshole as their CEO now like Activision does. In fact, the new guy (Riccotello or however you spell it) may be too much of a pussy cat given the current state of EA (because god forbid the company put an emphasis on new properties and have the consumers care, sadly) but if they can hold in there for some batches of sequels of the new properties that did well - Dead Space, Dante's Inferno, etc - backed with the success for Bad Company 2 and wait for these guys to get out their first title, I think EA will be good to get back to the top spot.

Fygar
04-29-2010, 10:44 AM
And now Bungie signs a 10 year deal with Activision...what the fuck?

Briomega
12-21-2010, 08:59 PM
Shit's flipping:

http://kotaku.com/5715854/call-of-duty-giant-suing-rival-over-modern-warfare-meltdown-paints-uglier-picture


"Cooking Up Chaos"

West and Zampella, as founders of Infinity Ward, were deep into making Modern Warfare 2 in the summer of 2009 and and had two years left on their contract with the company when, Activision claims, EA came calling.

Activision's legal filing today sets this up:

Unable to compete with Activision and Infinity Ward, and, upon information and belief, enraged by the recent defection of two Electronic Arts executives to Activision (unlike West and Zampella, the executives who left Electronic Arts were not under employment contracts), Electronic Arts was determined to retaliate. Electronic Arts set out to destabilize, disrupt and to attempt to destroy Infinity Ward. Although the precise dates the scheme was conceived and initiated remain somewhat unknown to Activision it was clearly underway no later than July 30, 2009.

At that point, the Call of Duty publisher claims that EA's number two executive, John Schappert, started communicating in secret with West and Zampella, bringing Hollywood agents into the mix and trying to woo the Infinity Ward chiefs away.

The Activision filing includes copies of e-mails allegedly sent by CAA agent Seamus Blackley saying ""I'll wager a kidney that you'll be astonished" about the opportunity he wanted to set up for the Infinity Ward guys. Another e-mail featured Blackley inviting the IW guys to visit with EA boss John Riccitiello: "JR cooks a mean BBQ. I think we could accomplish some interesting chaos." According to Activision, EA dispatched a private jet to bring West and Zampella to the get-together.

In time, and with EA's knowledge that West and Zampella were under contract to Activision for another two years, Activision claims EA and the two Infinity Ward founders hatched a plan — one rife with private e-mails, attempts to surreptitiously scan company documents and maybe even a good deal of cackling — to start a spin-off company that would make games to compete with Call of Duty. EA, CAA and the Infinity Ward founders were assisted in their plot Activision says, by Harold Brown an attorney who was formerly a member of Activision's board of directors. He is not being sued by Activision.

Full article has a lot more juicy stuff. Who knows if the entire full story will ever see the light on what happened. But this is some interesting stuff.