FutureFive NZ - Ugly details behind Activision/Infinity Ward spat

Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.

Ugly details behind Activision/Infinity Ward spat

New details in the continuing saga of Call of Duty: Legal Warfare have been made available in the form of unsealed emails.

For those unaware, Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward and publisher Activision have been shooting it out for several years after tensions arose between the two companies.

Emails published by the LA Times reveal those tensions came to a head in 2009 after Infinity Ward failed to prepare a gameplay demo of Modern Warfare 2 in time for E3, angering Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.

"Msft [Microsoft] will go ballistic over this and the deal is seriously risked,” he wrote. 

Activision executive Mike Griffith then claimed that when he attempted to call Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella to ask for the demo, they hung up on him – which didn’t do much for Kotick’s anger.

"If they really did I would change their locks and lock them out of their building,” he wrote in reply.

On March 1 2010, West and Zampella were fired for ‘breaches of contract and insubordination’.

Two days later the pair filed a $36 million lawsuit against Activision, claiming they were wrongfully dismissed.

This in turn led to a counter-suit being filed against the pair, as Activision claimed Infinity Ward were attempting to steal the Modern Warfare brand and take it to rival publisher Electronic Arts. 

The giant publisher is responsible not only for Modern Warfare but also Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo franchises, and previously the Guitar Hero franchise.

Activision recently settled another lawsuit against Electronic Arts, and have also paid a huge lump sum to the Infinity Ward Employee Group – now it looks like they’re ready to declare open warfare on West and Zampella.

The gloves are off in what could well be the gaming industry’s biggest ever controversy, and it’s only going to get bigger from here. 

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