Zampella/West claim Modern Warfare
Former IW heads accuse Acti of fraud.
Sacked Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella could be entitled to hold onto the Modern Warfare brand should their lawsuit against Activision be successful.
The duo have added two claims of fraud to their list of grievances against their former employers, insisting that Activision never intended to honour a contract they signed in 2008.
According to a Gamespot report, this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was drawn up to "address issues of significant concern to West and Zampella, particularly in the area of creative authority over the Modern Warfare games and the creation of a look, feel, and brand for the Modern Warfare games."
West and Zampella claim the deal gave them final say over any future Modern Warfare titles, as well as a healthy bonus package.
However, there was allegedly a stipulation in the memorandum that stated the deal was subject to the pair's continued employment by the publisher. When questioned about this bit of small-print, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick allegedly told them, "Don't worry about it. It's impossible for you guys to get fired."
Because of Kotick's promise, Zampella and West didn't seek more stringent wording and signed the contract, believing they were safe. However, the pair are now claiming Activision never intended to honour the agreement.
"While paying lip-service to West's and Zampella's creative authority, in 2008 and thereafter, Activision began secret development of Modern Warfare and Call of Duty games and related products, and undertook other conduct in relation to these two video game franchises that, under the MOU, required prior approval from West and Zampella," read the complaint.
"Activision did not inform West or Zampella of such plans or seek their input or approval for them. Indeed, while breaching the creative authority provisions of the MOU, Activision continued to pay lip-service to them, in an attempt to mask its secret development efforts."
According to a legal representative for West and Zampella, if the court sides with them it will mean they co-own the Modern Warfare brand with Activision, giving them free rein to release franchise titles under their own steam.
Recent reports suggest that Sledgehammer Games is currently working on a new Modern Warfare title for Activision.