In a move that lawyers called "cynical," Activision sent out a payment of $42 million today to the group of former Infinity Ward employees that are alleging Activision skipped the bill on Modern Warfare 2 employee royalties.
"I can confirm for you that it happened today," a lawyer for the Infinity War Employees Group said to Polygon. "I can also tell you that although it is a meaningful payment, it is only a small portion of what we are seeking in litigation. It is outrageous that they made us wait, they obviously knew they owed the money and this just shows that they breached the contract."
For Activision's part, they're saying the payment has nothing to do with the law suit, and that this is natural process of their "discovery phase." The Infinity Ward Employee Group's lawyer called it a ""cynical attempt to look good before the jury trial."
When this issue first flared up in 2010, G4 reported that the Infinity Ward group was seeking between $75 million to $125 million in unpaid royalties as well as $75 to $500 million in punitive damages. Should they win, the loot will be divided (unevenly) between 40 plaintiffs.
So depending on how the trial goes (two weeks from now,) Activision could owe quite a bit more scratch. Though these things tend to get appealed and dragged through the courts for years. This is likely still just the beginning of a much longer story.