Activision goes to war: Lawsuits, countersuits and $1b at stake

Activision is being sued by former Infinity Ward leads Jason West and Vince Zampella for breach of contract following their termination in 2010. Activision is countersuing West and Zampella, alleging insubordination, and even got Electronic Arts included in the countersuit for allegedly scheming to "inflict serious harm on the company." Add to that mix a group of former Infinity Ward employees suing Activision for unpaid royalties and you've got the legal equivalent of an arms race.

Activision has paid Infinity Ward more than $493 million in bonuses for Call of Duty

In a hearing at a Los Angeles Superior Court today, Activision lawyers said the publisher has paid out more than $493 million in bonuses to the original Call of Duty studio since 2003.

While some of those bonuses are awarded based on profits reaped from Infinity Ward-developed games, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the studio also received hefty bonus payouts for games developed by Treyarch and other Call of Duty game developers. Infinity Ward bonus pool payments for Treyarch's 2010 effort Call of Duty: Black Ops, for example, exceeded $100 million.

As part of multiple agreements with...

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Activision v. West and Zampella case pushed back to June 1st

The trial between the creators and publishers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has been a long time coming, but today the presiding judge delayed the court date even further.

Judge Elihu Berle, who is presiding in the legal battle between Activision and former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, pushed back the trial from its original court date of May 29th to an expected date of June 1st.

A Polygon editor in the courtroom learned that an extended jury selection is being cited as the reason for the trial's delay. Once things get started, the trial is estimated to run 20 days...

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Bungie's 'sci-fantasy, action shooter' Destiny headed to Xbox 360 & 720 in fall 2013

Where does Bungie go after Halo? To Destiny, the developer's next series of games, according to unsealed court documents that outline the studio's ten-year contract with publisher Activision.

Bungie's contract with Activision from April 2010, unsealed as part of the ongoing lawsuit between Activision and former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, outlines the four game plan for Destiny, the game's codename. The first game in the "sci-fantasy, action shooter" series is planned for a release on the Xbox 360 and Microsoft's next-generation Xbox during fall 2013, according to...

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Activision and EA reach settlement in Call of Duty lawsuit

Rival video game publishers Activision and Electronic Arts say they have reached a settlement in the suit filed by the Call of Duty publisher. Activision added EA, publisher of competing Battlefield and Medal of Honor games, to a countersuit against Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, accusing the company of trying to "hijack" its top talent.

In December 2010, Activision said in a filing that "Electronic Arts set out to destabilize, disrupt and to attempt to destroy Infinity Ward," alleging that EA executives attempted to poach employees responsible for creating the Call...

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No more delays: Activision takes fired Infinity Ward founders to court on May 29th

A Los Angeles judge has denied publisher Activision's request to delay the trial that will see ex-Infinity Ward leads Jason West and Vince Zampella face their former publisher in court. The lawsuit between the creators of the multi-billion dollar Call of Duty franchise and the game's publisher will go ahead on May 29 as planned.

Earlier this week, Activision's recently hired legal representation on the case, former U.S. assistant attorney Beth Wilkinson, requested a 30-day extension from the court. Activision tells Polygon today that its request for continuance was denied.

Jason West and...

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Activision pays $42m to former Infinity Ward devs, not a settlement

After it finished reviewing all the evidence in the pre-trial lead up to its high-profile lawsuit against former Infinity Ward co-heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, Activision believed that the discovery phase didn't implicate the constituents of the so-called "Infinity Ward Employee Group," a source familiar with the case told Polygon. As a result, the video game publisher issued a check to the group's lawyers for $42 million dollars today, which includes 10 percent interest and is in addition to the original $22 million already paid for the promised first quarter launch bonus.

Reached...

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Activision lawsuit to be lead by Oklahoma City bombing prosecutor

The attorney that delivered the closing argument for the execution of Timothy McVeigh has been appointed by Activision to lead its legal battle with ex-Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vincent Zampella. The publisher told Polygon it has taken the reins from Steven Marenberg and passed them to former U.S. assistant attorney Beth Wilkinson.

What began as West, Zampella and dozens of other ex-Infinity Ward staffers suing for royalties they claimed were witheld by the company has evolved into a countersuit by Activision, which says that the developers had violated their employment contract.

T...

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