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Acti: Modern Warfare 3 "held hostage"

Claims West/Zampella were very naughty.

Activision has accused former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella of "delaying pre-production of Modern Warfare 3" in its cross-complaint against the duo, who launched a legal action against the publisher after they were sacked last month.

"Activision did not arrive at its decision to fire West and Zampella lightly or without good reason," according to the publisher's suit, which has been published on IGN.

West and Zampella claimed they were dismissed following an "inquisition" that reduced colleagues to tears and included six-hour interrogations in windowless rooms.

"In certain respects, West and Zampella were valuable executives at the company," Activision's cross-complaint continued. However, "West and Zampella morphed from valued, responsible executives into insubordinate and self-serving schemers who attempted to hijack Activision's assets for their own personal gain."

Activision has accused the pair of "embarking on a secret trip by private jet to Northern California, arranged by their Hollywood agent, to meet with the most senior executives of Activision's closest competitor" - something also alleged last month.

Furthermore, the publisher has claimed that West and Zampella were "holding future editions of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise hostage unless Activision acceded to their demands".

To be more specific, it said they were "delaying pre-production of Modern Warfare 3 and attempting to use that delay as leverage in their negotiations". As a result, "Activision has been forced to commit additional resources to Modern Warfare 3."

Activision also claimed that this brinkmanship came at a cost to rank-and-file Infinity Ward employees. According to the publisher, West and Zampella were preventing their colleagues lower down the order receiving "additional compensation" due to them so that Activision would seem like the bad guy, making employees "easier to poach". Not only that, but they allegedly took "1/3 of the total bonus pool for the Call of Duty franchise" rather than sharing it about.

"West and Zampella informed IW employees that they intended to leave Activision and discussed with some IW team members whether they would leave Activision and participate in a spin-off company," the suit claimed.

Nor have they stopped following their dismissal, according to the Call of Duty publisher. "West and Zampella are continuing to engage in this misconduct, or waiting for a propitious moment to do so," its suit claimed.

Activision's suit claimed that redacted employee contracts spell out just how naughty that would have been, as they included clauses that were designed to stop the pair soliciting Activision employees for two years following termination.

Activision confirmed last month that it had terminated Jason West and Vince Zampella and would be reorganising its Call of Duty efforts into a specialised business unit to oversee multiple titles.

These would include a new effort from Sledgehammer Games - the studio set up by EA veterans Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey - in addition to this year's Call of Duty 7 title from Treyarch.