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Former Infinity Ward execs go after partial Modern Warfare rights

Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West, who have been embroiled in a public dispute with Activision since being sacked last year, are seeking partial rights to the Modern Warfare franchise. If they succeed, they may gain the right to release new games in the series, presumably through their new studio, Respawn Entertainment, and its publishing deal with EA.

The duo sued Activision shortly after being fired. Activision counter-sued, and recently added Electronic Arts - which it alleges conspired with the execs - to the case. Zampella and West have now fired back, adding fraud charges to their original lawsuit in an attempt to annul their contracts. They now allege that they were skeptical about a section of their contracts which indicated that creative control over the Call of Duty franchise required their employment with Activision, but that they were assured that termination was "impossible."

According to the duo, Activision boss Bobby Kotick told them, "Don’t worry about it. It’s impossible for you guys to get fired." It was that statement, they say, that kept them from pressing for better contracts.

Who's right, who's wrong? Who the hell knows? What concerns me, someone more interested in games than legal buffoonery, is that (unless I'm misreading them, and they simply want to stick it to the man) Zampella and West apparently want to continue making CoD games. Sure, there's an assload of money in it, but what of being reborn from the ashes with new IP? Activision's set to run the franchise into the ground as it is. Le sigh.

[Source: GameSpot]

Apr 4, 2011

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21 comments

  • ymala1 - April 9, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    If I'm not mistaken, Vince and Zampella are trying, and can only realistically lay any claim, to get rights to the 'modern warfare' IP. I don't think they can get 'Call of Duty'... But that's ok with me, I'd love for them to grab that name from activision so kotick can't keep feeding off its popularity to keep shoving games down our throats. It might not sound like much, but that name alone is big business.... Besides, modern warfare only happened because of those two insisting on it.
  • SideOfBeef - April 5, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    Hows a out they just settle, Activision gives them some cash and keeps the CoD rights, and we call it a day?
  • Chiefslapaho - April 5, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    I think they should get modern warfare rights and have the new one be all bolt action rifles and slingshots in post apocalyptic Dollywood. Who is with me?
  • aaron171 - April 5, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    Activision killed off: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series (the best skating game i think), Guitar Hero, and soon to be Call Of Duty. Activision needs to go back to publishing GOOD games, not the same overused crap like MW2 and Black Ops. more games like Singularity need to be given more popularity because they are more inventive and different than COD. COD is the only thing they have left, and knowing Kotick, thats all they'll keep producing and they'll tank after COD dies. cant wait for then when COD doesn't exist and screaming 12 year olds arent playing online anymore
  • IndignantCactus - April 5, 2011 2:05 a.m.

    CoD is a diseased, mutilated cadaver of an IP grasping at the last floating reed of existence >:(
  • adrianhasenfratz - April 5, 2011 1:30 a.m.

    So they lost Guitar Hero. All they really have left is COD. I think its funny that they are about to lose their only heavy hitter. =)
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - April 4, 2011 10:15 p.m.

    Really? They REALLY want to keep making CoD? I don't know, but I think that's so stupid. The two of them should get together with EA and DICE and help with the Battlefield games, if they wanted to. Just stay away from the Devil (aka Activision) He'll get you in the end.
  • AlpineGuy - April 4, 2011 9:54 p.m.

    This is probably gonna take forever. I'm hoping that Activision just gives up. I don't care if Call of Duty goes the way of Guitar Hero, so long as Infinity Ward (I mean-Respawn Studios) is left alone so that they make some good (and hopefully original) games. That said, they should be free to use the CoD name because they could use the name recognition...and it's sort of their own IP to begin with.
  • corndog501 - April 4, 2011 9:36 p.m.

    Hell if I was those two I'd want the rights too. How would you like it if your boss fired you, stole something that you worked hard to create and is suing you for all you got? You'd be pissed off and want revenge, that's what!
  • TURbo - April 4, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    13 months of lawsuiting.
  • tomthespesh - April 4, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    Hopefully they get control of CoD and let it finally die. As much as I liked MW 1 & 2, it's time to let it go and do something different.
  • nadrewod - April 4, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    @IronGuy410, They are just trying to get what they were promised out of Activision because they didn't leave Activision, Activision RAIDED THEIR OFFICES, INTERROGATED THEM FOR HOURS, AND FIRED THEM FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT (with "Activision's biggest competitor": EA wasn't named for at least a month, a while after news of Respawn Entertainment reached Lord Kotick the Insane)! Sorry for all the CAPS, but this point needs to be emphasized. They never wanted to leave IW, Kotick kicked them out. Anyways, they are now trying to stop Kotick from outside the studio via legal cease-and-desist orders. They initially wanted to put a halt to CoD because they wanted to show IW's strength in other genres than FPS, so they signed a contract pre-MW2 that granted them full creative control over the CoD series (in every studio owned by Activision, not just IW), which would have guaranteed them the ability to stop making FPS games for at least a few years. In the end, the only bad guy IMHO is Kotick and his Activision goon squad, letting great new IPs die out from lack of marketing (Singularity? Never heard of it.) and trying to make us buy the same game year after year (Coming November 2027: "Call of Duty: Attack of the Communist Nazi Kamikaze Zombies!")
  • CommandantOreo - April 4, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    COD is being ruined by Activision, they don't deserve it. Respawn could make it better.
  • IronGuy410 - April 4, 2011 8:15 p.m.

    w8 a minute...isn't the fact that they wanted to make NEW IP but couldn't the whole reason why they left Activision???WTF is dis shit now???
  • Modroneman - April 4, 2011 8:05 p.m.

    I love hearing this whole thing unfold! Do not stop talking about it! It's like a soap opera for guys! I want all the juicy details! recaptcha: criews defined
  • Sniped50 - April 4, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    PS: I'm not knocking the series itself. Just Activision.
  • Sniped50 - April 4, 2011 7:45 p.m.

    It MAY be a good thing; a new studio working on CoD without Activision constantly bearing down on them may just be what stops it from dying by Kotick's hand. It also MAY NOT be a good thing; yeah, Activision is running the series into the dirt, and Respawn Entertainment might actually lose lots of money when people eventually stop liking the series as a whole. I'm actually hoping that they acquire the TOTAL rights to the franchise, you know, the two-finger salute to Kotick?
  • Lando81 - April 4, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    and before anyone says otherwise. Infinity Ward has ALWAYS made fantastic games. MW2 included.
  • Lando81 - April 4, 2011 7:36 p.m.

    I'm really sick of hearing about this. Can't we all just go back to making good games?
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - April 4, 2011 7:31 p.m.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens in court... mostly because it'll determine how much more we have to hear about it.

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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