Recently axed Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella have sued Activision.
The pair were wrongly fired weeks before they were due to be paid substantial royalty payments, according to a suit filed on their behalf by law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The suit alleges that Activision granted West and Zampella contractual rights to control Modern Warfare-branded games, but that Activision “seized control of the Infinity Ward studio”.
The suit includes claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrong termination in violation of public policy, and declaratory relief.
West and Zampella co-founded Call Of Duty creator Infinity Ward in 2001. It was acquired by Activision in November 2003. Following the buyout, West and Zampella served as president/game director and CEO, respectively.
"Activision has refused to honour 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.
"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 said: "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."
Zampella added: "After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid."