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Activision lawsuit holding up Respawn

Legal battle taking its toll on West, Zampella.

Fired Call of Duty creators Vince Zampella and Jason West have claimed the bitter legal battle between themselves and Activision is preventing their new studio Respawn Entertainment from getting going.

The pair have protested against Activision's high-profile attempt to drag rival publisher EA into the lawsuit, according to new documents obtained by Kotaku.

Last month Activision alleged that EA "conspired" with West and Zampella to "derail Activision's Call of Duty franchise, disrupt its Infinity Ward development studio, and inflict serious harm on the company". Activision wants a whopping $400 million in damages from EA.

The new documents allege that Activision knew of EA's alleged involvement in the case over six months beforehand, and that by waiting until December 2010 to amend the case sought to have the beginning of the trial - scheduled for May - pushed back.

West and Zampella say they "are paying for this litigation from our own funds" and that to date the cost of the case has "[exceeded] our combined annual salaries".

They claim "any delay of the trial in this lawsuit would increase the financial and non-financial burdens and would continue to distract us from running our business and earning a living".

Lawyers and analysts have told Eurogamer that Activision could attempt to block Respawn from releasing a game.

In August EA Partners boss David DeMartini, the main who signed Zampella and West after they were sacked by Activision, told Eurogamer that Respawn's new game was further out than Insomniac's unannounced multiplatform game for EA.

"The thing everybody needs to remember is they were starting at absolute zero," DeMartini said. "This is two guys who really know what they're doing having to go find a place for the team, buy chairs and desks and furniture, find new technology from the ground up, and pull a team together. I need to get HR people and contracts. There are all kinds of things and administration that need to take place."

A decision on EA's involvement in the case is expected this month, with a trial date set for 23rd May 2011.