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Title: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: ForumBot 0.8 beta on March 02, 2010, 12:00:18 AM
There's a Story Here, Somewhere.  (http://f13.net/index.php?itemid=842)

Blah blah, facebook is everywhere, blah blah.

Moby Games for Jason West. (http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,54868/)

gg man, gg

Updated with:

gg man, gg


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 12:01:28 AM
Also, you like this.

What.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 12:08:39 AM
Full employee list. Assuming this isn't isolated to executive staff, it's going to look like Faces of Death in a day or two:

http://www.linkedin.com/search?search=&company=Infinity+Ward


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on March 02, 2010, 12:10:43 AM
Wonder if we will see an IW exodus and reformation, a la 2015?



Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Ard on March 02, 2010, 12:13:08 AM
This doesn't even make any sense.  Despite bitching, pc problems, and mediocrity, how does sacking a team that JUST made you many millions make any rational business sense?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on March 02, 2010, 12:14:13 AM
nod.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: waffel on March 02, 2010, 12:14:43 AM
This doesn't even make any sense.  Despite bitching, pc problems, and mediocrity, how does sacking a team that JUST made you many millions make any rational business sense?

Yeah, I'm not sure what Activision thought would happen with the release of MW2, but didn't it sell a whole boatload of boxes regardless of how shitty it was?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Mosesandstick on March 02, 2010, 12:17:04 AM
From wikipedia:

"On March 1, 2010, head members Vince Zampella and Jason West were said to be "missing in action" and the office is said to be under heavy security. It is reported to happened when Zampella and West were heading to a meeting with Activision. However, it is believed by many gamers to be a publicity stunt due to Battlefield: Bad Company 2's release."

Hehe.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Velorath on March 02, 2010, 12:27:39 AM
This doesn't even make any sense.  Despite bitching, pc problems, and mediocrity, how does sacking a team that JUST made you many millions make any rational business sense?

If I had to come up with wild speculation based on no evidence at all, I'd guess that IW felt that based on their recent successes they were due more than what Activision was giving them (be it money, or creative freedom, or whatever), went down to Activision for some hardball negotiations, and had it backfire, with Activision figuring that the franchise is more important than the team making it given that even Treyarch can sell 11+ million copies with their previous entry.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Rendakor on March 02, 2010, 12:29:44 AM
 :popcorn:


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 12:34:43 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8cqJT7uyfo

So. Too soon?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: caladein on March 02, 2010, 12:42:28 AM
Publicity stunt?  IW getting sacked?  Either way it's win-win for me and my :popcorn:.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on March 02, 2010, 01:00:24 AM
So. Too soon?

I don't get it.



Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: tgr on March 02, 2010, 01:14:46 AM
:popcorn:


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on March 02, 2010, 01:22:46 AM
How hard would it be for Jason West to find another job / set up a new studio? I'm guessing "Not very."


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Lum on March 02, 2010, 01:26:48 AM
This doesn't even make any sense.  Despite bitching, pc problems, and mediocrity, how does sacking a team that JUST made you many millions make any rational business sense?

(http://lumthemad.net/images/kotick-motivator.jpg)


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 02, 2010, 01:34:24 AM
I wonder how much of a headache was made from having stirred shit with Microsoft, Sony, and Valve simultaneously with all the support calls and bad press that has resulted from their design decisions with the game.

I can't help but feel a little better knowing some heads are rollling at Infinity Ward.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Lum on March 02, 2010, 01:43:29 AM
Oh, hi, Activision 10-K filed yesterday, how ya doin. (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702911/UPDATE-Security-Appears-Unannounced-At-Infinity-Ward-Studio-Heads-Missing-Staff-Freaked-Out-.html)

Quote
In November 2009, the Company released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a game developed by one of the Company's wholly-owned studios, Infinity Ward. As noted above, Modern Warfare 2 was the best selling console title in the U.S. and Europe in 2009. Consistent with past practice, the Company intends to release a Call of Duty game in 2010 developed by another wholly-owned studio. The Company is concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward. This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation. At present, the Company does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the Company.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 02:20:58 AM
So, a handful of people.

Also, insubordination. Why would anyone work for a gaming company that even invokes such trash?

Edit: YEA, FIRING THE LEADER OF JUST SHORT OF A DECADE WON'T HAVE AN IMPACT. I swear to god, trained monkeys could replace 90% of the executives in America.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Margalis on March 02, 2010, 02:22:08 AM
This doesn't even make any sense.  Despite bitching, pc problems, and mediocrity, how does sacking a team that JUST made you many millions make any rational business sense?

Pretty much all founders eventually get sacked once they sell out to someone bigger. There's no evidence that Activision sacked the team, just a couple of higher-ups. Which is not particularly surprising.

And anyone expecting a mass exodus of other employees in protest is probably going to be disappointed. Given the current economic situation I wouldn't expect anything more than a slow brain drain at best.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 02:23:28 AM
This doesn't even make any sense.  Despite bitching, pc problems, and mediocrity, how does sacking a team that JUST made you many millions make any rational business sense?
Pretty much all founders eventually get sacked once they sell out to someone bigger. There's no evidence that Activision sacked the team, just a couple of higher-ups. Which is not particularly surprising.
There's situations like that sure, especially when the leader is a sack of ass. As far as I know, the heads of IW were well-loved and cool people. This is NOT the sort of situation that has no "material impact."


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on March 02, 2010, 02:26:41 AM
re: insubordination
I can't figure out why most otherwise-intelligent people over a certain age stay in the games industry, considering how they're often treated by the publishers and management.

It's also possible (aka I've seen it speculated) that they were getting a bit big for their boots given the success of CoD4/MW2, and that Bobby didn't like that and wanted to put them in their place (see: insubordination). OTOH, perhaps they just weren't balanced for lean.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Margalis on March 02, 2010, 02:32:01 AM
Perhaps they actually were guilty of rampant insubordination. You never know. There have been rumored strains for a long time and IW employees have been openly shitting on other Activision dev teams.

Honestly I'm surprised it took this long. When I first saw different dev teams at Activision bickering I figured someone was going to get fired then. I don't really know how people can expect to get away with actively hurting the bottom line of their owning company by bashing other games in their portfolio.

I'm not going to say that that's why these guys were let go but at many places that sort of behavior would not fly at all, nor should it.

Edit: In case someone doesn't know what I'm talking about:

http://www.gamestooge.com/2008/11/08/infinity-ward-vs-treyarch-round-one/


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 02:33:56 AM
Yea, because rampant insubordination is something worth chasing down when they have the best selling game of the year and their employees like them.

Please. This isn't the military. Kotick is just a raging asshat.

Edit: This whole thing strikes me as a way to get shares of stock back without having to buy them. I'd love to be a fly on the wall, but honestly - you own Infinity Ward? Give them money and let them do their thing.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: tgr on March 02, 2010, 02:46:56 AM
I suppose that it could be argued that they might have been going too far in pissing off their PC customers with their actions, although given the way every developer and their dog seems to be heading towards consoles with :inluv: faces the last 1-2 years, that seems to be a bit of a stretch.

It could also just be that there are huge personality clashes that have finally come to an end. People have been sacked for less.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 02:54:54 AM
Quote
It could also just be that there are huge personality clashes that have finally come to an end. People have been sacked for less.

I can't imagine anyone on Earth having a personality conflict with Pope Kotick.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Velorath on March 02, 2010, 03:24:13 AM
Edit: In case someone doesn't know what I'm talking about:

http://www.gamestooge.com/2008/11/08/infinity-ward-vs-treyarch-round-one/

Robert Bowling still seems to have his job, so I doubt that's it.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Outlawedprod on March 02, 2010, 08:30:31 AM
http://twitter.com/TimOfLegend/status/9865403393
Tim Shafer: "Getting mad at Activision for this kind of thing is like getting mad at an ape for throwing feces. It's just how the beast communicates."

He's right too.  They shipped MW2 already so what leverage does the studio heads have?  Queue Activision curb stomp time.  West should be given props though he obviously had a position and was not willing to compromise or toe the line that Activision laid down.  Although really why should he since it was probably made patently obvious to him awhile back they that wanted him gone.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Outlawedprod on March 02, 2010, 08:59:24 AM
Speaking of Activision laying down the law.

Anyone else notice they shut down that King's Quest fan project?
http://www.tsl-game.com/


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Sky on March 02, 2010, 09:00:26 AM
I swear to god, trained monkeys could replace 90% of the executives in America.
Very charitable of you. I wouldn't have thought they'd need training.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Kovacs on March 02, 2010, 09:23:09 AM
Oh, hi, Activision 10-K filed yesterday, how ya doin. (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702911/UPDATE-Security-Appears-Unannounced-At-Infinity-Ward-Studio-Heads-Missing-Staff-Freaked-Out-.html)

Quote
... and litigation.

My first thought when I saw HR inquiry was sexual harrassment.  Guess not. 

I have a feeling breach of contract and insubordination in this context are really just "creative differences" writ large and the press release was crafted to support possible future litigation more than it is to accurately report the situation.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: caladein on March 02, 2010, 01:01:39 PM
That wasn't a press release, that was their SEC-mandated 10-K filing (http://www.sec.gov/answers/form10k.htm).


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 02, 2010, 01:12:28 PM
http://www.bingegamer.net/2010/infinity-ward-has-not-received-royalties-for-modern-warfare-2/

O_O


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Outlawedprod on March 02, 2010, 03:31:46 PM
http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702922/Activision-CEO-Bobby-Kotick-Scheduled-To-Meet-With-Infinity-Ward-Momentarily-.html

Hopefully the meeting isn't in the parking lot  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Outlawedprod on March 02, 2010, 03:55:57 PM
Here's a story
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/27482/Analysis_Infinity_Wards_DoubleEdged_Sword.php


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: HaemishM on March 02, 2010, 04:33:19 PM
Or there's this:

http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702928/Activision-Announces-New-Direction-For-Call-Of-Duty-Confirms-Infinity-Ward-Changes-.html

Say hello to the new boss.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 04:47:45 PM
yeaaaaa.

100% sure Kotick made the worst decision ever here. Also, do your really not get to comment on HR issues when your stock is about to shit the bed?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Trippy on March 02, 2010, 05:08:05 PM
It's the EA/Medal of Honor fiasco all over again :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Dexter on March 02, 2010, 05:21:48 PM
Didn't they just get rid of Tony Hawk and most of Guitar Hero like 2 weeks ago?

Radical Entertainment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Entertainment) (Prototype, Scarface, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction) - fired over 90 employees (half of the staff),
Luxoflux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxoflux) (True Crime, Kung Fu Panda, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) - shut down,
Neversoft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neversoft) (Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, Spider-Man) - fired over 50 employees,
RedOctane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RedOctane) (Guitar Hero and Plastic Instruments) - shut down,
Underground Development (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_Development) (Guitar Hero: Van Halen, BMX XXX, Freestyle BMX, X-Men) - shut down

http://kotaku.com/5469802/prototype-developer-radical-cut-in-half
http://kotaku.com/5469858/activision-takes-axe-to-guitar-heros-neversoft-shuts-down-luxoflux
http://kotaku.com/5470149/activision-shutters-guitar-hero-creators-gh-van-halen-developers

And weren't they resistant against new IPs e.g. laying off stuff like Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, Wet etc.

What are they supposed to be running on after their Call of Duty goldmine is empty?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 02, 2010, 05:22:16 PM
Sounds like I got plenty of time to 10th prestige before the next MW hits.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 02, 2010, 05:23:40 PM
If Kotick shuts down everything except blizzard, he'll get nothing but richer.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Lt.Dan on March 02, 2010, 05:41:51 PM
Gross insubordination = talking to another publisher while still under contract with the current guys....


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: RUiN 427 on March 02, 2010, 05:49:06 PM
My guess is that it was more of a "over our dead bodies" kind of thing.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: sinij on March 02, 2010, 06:02:58 PM
Going for maximum damage, can they insist to be dead bodies?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Strazos on March 02, 2010, 08:33:27 PM
Reading some of this stuff just confirms I made the right decision in not giving a shit about Call of Duty.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Jobu on March 03, 2010, 02:09:55 AM
Ugh, I can't help but feel terrible for the rank and file of that company right now. They must be confused and borderline terrified. No one is going to be posting screenshots of their facebook pages if they get canned.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Xuri on March 03, 2010, 03:39:18 AM
What are they supposed to be running on after their Call of Duty goldmine is empty?
Facebook-games, of course!  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on March 03, 2010, 04:43:07 AM
Ugh, I can't help but feel terrible for the rank and file of that company right now. They must be confused and borderline terrified. No one is going to be posting screenshots of their facebook pages if they get canned.

Meh, I'm sure most of them will be hired by Zampella and West's new startup developer in a few months time to work on a new console-centric modern black ops FPS shooter IP without dedicated servers or lean.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on March 03, 2010, 09:06:58 AM
If IW's West and Zampella are fired for "insubordination", are there some special kind of anti-competitive / incredibly punitive things that Activision can hit them with? Because it's an odd thing to mention specifically.

Might be specific to their contract, of course, but it is odd phrasing imo.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 03, 2010, 10:21:16 AM
They either found a way to pull their entire contract and strip them of shares and any revenue sharing or the exact opposite. I imagine there's no middle ground there.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on March 03, 2010, 01:09:48 PM
"Hay guyz, we're responsible for about 1/3rd of your entire income for 2009.  How about you halp us get a little bit more of the action?"

"YOU'RE FIRED!"


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on March 03, 2010, 09:07:03 PM
With those comments that royalties aren't paid by Activision to studios until the quarter following release, it is very possible that kicking West and Zampella out now sees them get zero dollars from MW2 sales.

If that's the case: epic bastardry.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on March 03, 2010, 09:07:50 PM
Quote
it is very possible that kicking West and Zampella out now sees them get zero dollars from MW2 sales.

That's what I've been saying.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Falwell on March 03, 2010, 11:55:24 PM
With those comments that royalties aren't paid by Activision to studios until the quarter following release, it is very possible that kicking West and Zampella out now sees them get zero dollars from MW2 sales.

If that's the case: epic bastardry.

That's the story (http://www.joystiq.com/2010/03/04/ousted-infinity-ward-founders-file-suit-against-activision/) Zampella and West are going with it appears.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 04, 2010, 01:23:25 AM
That is going to get real ugly if they win. Activision without Call of Duty? Wow.

I hope they don't settle.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: taolurker on March 04, 2010, 07:17:43 AM
That is going to get real ugly if they win. Activision without Call of Duty? Wow.

I hope they don't settle.

I believe IW would only be going after the MW part of CoD, or maybe only their share of royalties, tech and assets. Activision already has a different dev (Treyarch) working on CoD in a different scope.

I also think IW would want to retain ownership of the FPS IP they were designing under contract, because them being removed the way they were would be Activision taking that over as well.

IW not getting royalties is something that we want Activision to get sued about and lose, otherwise no developer will feel comfortable about getting paid for their work.

What I really want to know is what the claims of "insubordination" and "breach of contract" actually are, and if they will hold up in court.

I think it only just started to get messy.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: 01101010 on March 04, 2010, 07:28:57 AM
Wow. The more I read this prime time soap opera, the more I am invested. Nice to see corporate greed playing out here, and so transparent thus far. Its very awe inspiring, make truck loads of money off someone's project and then turn around and find any loophole to get out of paying him/her for their project? Fantastic!

What I can see happening is they settle for less than what they could have got because of some dumb ass drunk phone call to the wrong person one night. Either way, prepare the mouthwash because this is going to be bitter, no matter the outcome.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Yegolev on March 04, 2010, 08:11:53 AM
Yea, because rampant insubordination is something worth chasing down when they have the best selling game of the year and their employees like them.

As a card-carrying corporate stooge, believe me when I say that you cannot underestimate the egos of executives.  Public opinion of the brand is a driving force of stock price, and stock price is how executives/directors get paid.

Edit: This whole thing strikes me as a way to get shares of stock back without having to buy them. I'd love to be a fly on the wall, but honestly - you own Infinity Ward? Give them money and let them do their thing.

Or their greed.  Large companies don't just let their business units do what they do best.  First of all, there is always some douchebag on the board that wants to know if they can do anything to improve the stock.  This task falls on executives.  Secondly, even in good times someone on the board will wonder why they are paying those executives so much money and are they really doing anything to earn it.  This leads us to the axiom that leadership is always fucking around with initiatives and manifestos and workforce streamlining and "bestshoring".

The term "bestshore" recently entered my vocabulary, and I don't care for it.  It's like The Simpsons episode where Marge gets into real estate and she is told that the company's motto of "The Right House for the Right Person" means "the house you are selling" and "anyone".


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Sky on March 04, 2010, 08:21:13 AM
Public opinion of the brand is a driving force of stock price, and stock price is how executives/directors get paid.
At the risk of skirting 'that subforum', this is really one of the biggest problems america is facing.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Yegolev on March 04, 2010, 08:37:31 AM
This topic is skirting, if you ask me, so I say it's fair game.

The drama here is possibly due to self-motivated men not being interested in being subsumed into a typical corporate entity.  For me, none of this is shocking.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on March 04, 2010, 09:16:35 AM
What I really want to know is what the claims of "insubordination" and "breach of contract" actually are, and if they will hold up in court.

What was alluded to in one of the linked articles (I think the gamasutra one) was that IW had as part of their contract that they could develop an independent title for which they would receive most of the profits after they completed COD:MW2.

I think that the insubordination and breach of contract come into play in that IW wanted to exercise that option for their new IP while their name was golden and Activision mgmt told them to do COD:MW3 right the fuck now and IW declined.

If so, then any legal case comes down to who can interpret the timing of what the 'after MW2' part of the contract really meant and whether they were obligated to put future development for Activision ahead of their own interests.  That this also allows Activision to attempt to refuse payment to the IW executives is probably just the reason for the quickness of the action rather than the reason for the action itself.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 04, 2010, 11:41:00 AM
Continuing a trend...

(http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc251/Lorekeep/motivator6f57c15d28666253adf5be6ad9.jpg)


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: taolurker on March 04, 2010, 12:08:16 PM
Court filing up on Kotaku (http://kotaku.com/5485703/ousted-infinity-ward-founders-lawsuit-against-activision-the-court-documents/gallery/)


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Jobu on March 04, 2010, 01:00:50 PM
Court filing up on Kotaku (http://kotaku.com/5485703/ousted-infinity-ward-founders-lawsuit-against-activision-the-court-documents/gallery/)

This thing is riveting! And terrifying!

I hope they don't settle, so that we can keep getting all the gory details from public court records.

What are the odds of this leaking out into the normal media? Like news on CNN or the New York Times? There's a lot of executive anger out there, this could play right into that pretty easily I think. Suddenly Kotick is having to deal with being grouped into the same categories as Wall Street executives... I bet he wouldn't like that, or the attention it brings to his company.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 04, 2010, 01:40:55 PM
Gee-zus Christ.

Fuck.

These are some pretty bad allegations. If it weren't for West and Zampella maintaining creative control of post-Vietnam Call of Duty titles, Activision could just pay them off and snatch up the CoD brand. This probably explains why Treyarch's CoD is in Vietnam. West and Zampella had the keys.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Arthur_Parker on March 04, 2010, 02:15:55 PM
This is pretty amazing, what's the chances of Activision getting away with it?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Rendakor on March 04, 2010, 02:57:56 PM
Link is tl;dr, and I also don't speak lawyer. Anyone care to give a summary of the allegations?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Velorath on March 04, 2010, 02:58:57 PM
Activision's response: (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702980/Activision-Responds-To-West-Zampellas-Lawsuit-Company-Disappointed-.html)

Quote
Activision has now issued their first public statement about the lawsuit filed yesterday by the former heads of Infinity Ward, CTO Jason West and president Vince Zampella. The statement is below:

"Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless," said an Activision spokesperson. "Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth."

"In return," the statement continues, "Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executive who holds a position of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions." Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans."

This comes on the heels of news that Activision is currently seeking internal documents linking West and Zampella to Electronic Arts and the possible creation of a studio outside of Activision.


And here is the EA stuff that article mentions. (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/702978/Activision-Seeking-Internal-Documents-Related-To-West-Zampella-AndElectronic-Arts-.html)



Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Margalis on March 05, 2010, 12:39:36 AM
Link is tl;dr, and I also don't speak lawyer. Anyone care to give a summary of the allegations?

Honestly the court filing is pretty useless without the attached material. From reading just the filing itself there's no way of telling what the agreements were or who owns what. The status of Infinity Ward as an entity is very unclear.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: IainC on March 05, 2010, 03:18:56 AM
That filing reads more like a press release for the media and gamers rather than a legal document for lawyers to argue over.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Margalis on March 05, 2010, 04:27:00 AM
Pretty much.

It's basically MW2 made lots of money and we're talented and cool guys - after all we've done for Activision how could they treat us like this?

It sure is awesome that MW2 sold a bajillion copies but I'm not sure how that's at all relevant.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Nazrat on March 05, 2010, 06:26:13 AM
That filing reads more like a press release for the media and gamers rather than a legal document for lawyers to argue over.

That is the purpose of a good petition.  The first document filed should read like a good story as it is the one that will be quoted by the news sources and will be the first story to the public. 

All that is legally required of the first document filed is to outline the basic legal claims being made and the facts that support those claims. 

If you don't agree with the petitioner in their first document, then they will lose badly in the case as this is their best chance to tell their story.  Every other document will be in response to this one. 

I would love to see the attachments but they will likely have their request for protective order granted for them. 

The petition is strong overall but, you will note that it fails to list the "baseless" facts regarding their behavior.  I am guessing that Activision will be slightly more specific in their answer. 



Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: KallDrexx on March 05, 2010, 07:31:09 AM
That filing reads more like a press release for the media and gamers rather than a legal document for lawyers to argue over.

That doesn't make it invalid though.  IIRC, the legal documents for that Glenn Beck domain case pretty much read the same way, with as much hilarity.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: IainC on March 05, 2010, 07:37:38 AM
That filing reads more like a press release for the media and gamers rather than a legal document for lawyers to argue over.

That doesn't make it invalid though.  IIRC, the legal documents for that Glenn Beck domain case pretty much read the same way, with as much hilarity.

I'm not saying that it's invalid, merely that its intended audience is clearly wider than the court.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on March 05, 2010, 09:30:22 AM
I don't know, I'm obviously not a lawyer but I would think the whole point of this kind of a case is simply, "We made LOTS of money for Activision and they refused to give us any of it and here is why we think they are supposed to."

It's not a criminal trial, I don't think there is some fine point of law under contention here.  It really is as simple as "Mr. Judge we made them 3 Billion and they owe us 36 million, see here is a paper saying they do.  Don't you agree?"


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: KallDrexx on March 05, 2010, 10:42:51 AM
Law suits are civil matters, not criminal.  So yeah, that's pretty much it with the added "they fired us so they didn't have to pay us" parts.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: IainC on March 05, 2010, 11:08:31 AM
It's important because this is news now and gamers/game journalists are paying attention. In 18 months or so when the lawsuits are settled and the verdicts are in, no-one will care as much and most people probably won't even remember who West and Zampella are. What the court decides is true at that point is far less important to popular opinion than the PR salvoes fired off by both sides right now. If one side wins in the court of the media today, the legal case becomes largely irrelevant.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 05, 2010, 11:34:44 AM
I think people will care if this delays / nixes DLC for MW2. Even patching the game could fall under development of a post-Vietnam Call of Duty depending on the terms of the agreement.

Then again if they're confident they could win, then they'd want MW2 stuff to be produced during the trial period so they can collect royalties?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on March 05, 2010, 02:57:05 PM
If one side wins in the court of the media today, the legal case becomes largely irrelevant.

I doubt if anyone ever thinks $36m (+ damages) is irrelevant.  Being morally right in the court of public opinion seems to be fairly meaningless in this case.  The only thing that would help them there is if they are actively trying to start a new studio but given that they are potentially legally encumbered at the moment I don't see any one lending them that kind of cash.

Now, if all the media hoopla influences the judge that would be nice for the plaintiffs but it would mean it's a pretty shitty judge.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Soln on March 05, 2010, 05:29:59 PM
I agree with Margalis more on this.  The IW guys need a contract and prove it was not honored.  At least something on paper saying they are formally owed.  Otherwise it's just BS.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Montague on March 05, 2010, 10:55:37 PM
I agree with Margalis more on this.  The IW guys need a contract and prove it was not honored.  At least something on paper saying they are formally owed.  Otherwise it's just BS.

There is a contract, it states so in the complaint.

Lum linked a blog in his Borken Toys post that had an interesting take, saying that the IW guys refused to speak to almost everyone from Activision during development of MW2. Antagonizing your parent company isn't very smart, contract or no.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: amiable on March 09, 2010, 07:13:57 AM
There is a copy of the more interesting parts of the complaint up at Above The Law.  You rarely see complaints drafted in such an informal (and over the top manner).  But it makes for good reading. 

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/03/lawsuit_of_the_day_activision.php (http://abovethelaw.com/2010/03/lawsuit_of_the_day_activision.php)


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Surlyboi on March 19, 2010, 10:56:34 AM
OTOH, perhaps they just weren't balanced for lean.

What you did there, I see it.

As for your assessment of executives, Schild, it's closer to 99%.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on March 19, 2010, 02:38:51 PM
Now the wait begins.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on March 27, 2010, 03:00:38 AM
OTOH, perhaps they just weren't balanced for lean.

What you did there, I see it.

As for your assessment of executives, Schild, it's closer to 99%.

wow, nice bump. well played.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: stu on April 12, 2010, 11:55:55 AM
So, following an Activision countersuit from a few days ago, West & Zampella have formed Respawn Entertainment, in a partnership with EA.

Gamasutra: West, Zampella Form Respawn Entertainment, Reveal EA Deal
 (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28053/West_Zampella_Form_Respawn_Entertainment_Reveal_EA_Deal.php)

Quote
Gamasutra sources have said that going independent has long been a desire of West and Zampella's, and that a contentious relationship between Infinity Ward and its publisher has existed since the beginning of Modern Warfare 2's development, with the studio's desired original IP project coming into conflict with Activision's production schedule for Modern Warfare games.

Activision's counter-suit now aims to withhold future payments to West and Zampella to compensate itself for a "period of [the pair's] disloyalty". The publisher also wants damages.



Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on April 12, 2010, 12:26:44 PM
Quote
... to compensate itself for a "period of [the pair's] disloyalty".


I'm thought indentured servitude was outlawed along with slavery?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Rendakor on April 13, 2010, 11:48:04 AM
Quote
going independent has long been a desire of West and Zampella's
Quote
open a new studio, hire a great team, and create brand new games with a new partner, EA
:uhrr:


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: schild on April 13, 2010, 01:51:32 PM
Quote
going independent has long been a desire of West and Zampella's
Quote
open a new studio, hire a great team, and create brand new games with a new partner, EA
:uhrr:
Leaving Activision for EA is a win these days.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Ard on April 13, 2010, 02:20:04 PM
Leaving Activision for time in a soup kitchen is apparently a win these days.  I'm not sure how Activision even still has any developers working for them after this fiasco.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Dexter on April 13, 2010, 03:04:58 PM
Leaving Activision for time in a soup kitchen is apparently a win these days.  I'm not sure how Activision even still has any developers working for them after this fiasco.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6257753.html

Quote
Perhaps the most significant of the recent round of departures is design lead Mackey McCandlish, who has been with Infinity Ward since the first Call of Duty shipped in 2003. McCandlish revealed his departure via Twitter. "Thanks idub, we had a great 8+ year run going there. Thanks for lunch everyone!" the developer's farewell tweet reads.

McCandlish is the second design lead to part ways with Infinity Ward this month. Last week, multiplayer design lead Todd Aldermann and lead software engineer Francesco Gigliotti, revealed through their LinkedIn profiles that they were no longer with Infinity Ward. Notably, McCandlish and Todd Aldermann make up one half of Infinity Ward's design leads credited on Modern Warfare 2.

This week also saw the departure of Jon Shiring, who has been with Infinity Ward since June 2004. "After almost 6 years at Infinity Ward, I resigned today. I'm incredibly proud of everything we accomplished and I'm going to miss everyone," the programmer said through his Twitter feed. Shiring's credits include Call of Duty 2 as well as Modern Warfare and its top-selling sequel.

Lastly, Bruce Ferriz has also left Infinity Ward this month, according to his LinkedIn profile. Though he was only with the company since March 2009, Ferriz held a senior-level animator position at the studio.

Activision has taken steps to prevent a continued hemorrhaging of talent at Infinity Ward. As part of its counterclaim to West and Zampella's $36 million lawsuit, the publisher said that once it "prevails in this matter, it intends to reallocate any share of the Modern Warfare 2 bonus pool that might otherwise have been payable to West and Zampella to those employees responsible for the success of the game who remain employees of the company subsequent to the resolution of the matter."

None of the aforementioned developers have indicated their future plans. In announcing Respawn Entertainment yesterday, West and Zampella declined to comment on whether they expected to hire other Infinity Ward alumni. However, the two did say that its publishing partner, Electronic Arts, has provided the startup with funds to staff up and "build a blockbuster product."


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: taolurker on April 13, 2010, 04:57:18 PM
Not sure if everyone saw this already, but the Cross Complaint from Activision in response to West and Zampella's lawsuit was filed before this past weekend, and is available for interested readers... from Kotaku (http://kotaku.com/5513734/activision-infinity-ward-gallery/gallery/).


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on April 15, 2010, 09:33:37 AM
http://www.joystiq.com/2010/04/12/vince-zampella-and-jason-west-talk-respawn-entertainment/

Interview.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Engels on April 15, 2010, 10:56:44 AM
Not sure if everyone saw this already, but the Cross Complaint from Activision in response to West and Zampella's lawsuit was filed before this past weekend, and is available for interested readers... from Kotaku (http://kotaku.com/5513734/activision-infinity-ward-gallery/gallery/).

If the allegations by Activision are true, in particular the part where the two fired were actively blocking financial compensation to other IW team members in order to be able to drag them off to their own team when they left, then that's a pretty dick move. On the other hand, I think Activision may have trouble proving motive, even if its factually true that West and Zampella robbed their fellow employees.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on April 15, 2010, 11:59:25 AM
If the allegations by Activision are true, in particular the part where the two fired were actively blocking financial compensation to other IW team members in order to be able to drag them off to their own team when they left.

Agree to our terms and we will release the bonus funds to the other employees isn't robbery, it's blackmail.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 15, 2010, 12:24:22 PM
I'd say Activision is doing the same thing, dangling the residuals from MW2 over the IW employees' heads until post law-suit (which could be YEARS) over those that stay with the company.

I'm almost certain that Activision would love it if every employee voluntarily quit Infinity Ward and the company died so they can keep all the money.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Engels on April 15, 2010, 01:28:32 PM
If the allegations by Activision are true, in particular the part where the two fired were actively blocking financial compensation to other IW team members in order to be able to drag them off to their own team when they left.

Agree to our terms and we will release the bonus funds to the other employees isn't robbery, it's blackmail.

Not if the terms were singed waaay back when the original contract was drawn up. The devil's in the details, of course, but Activision's counter allegation is pretty serious; I'd expect they have some form of documentation proving that these two were purposefully witholding funds.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Velorath on April 15, 2010, 02:40:17 PM
IW just lost two more people today (http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3178843).  If I'm not mistaken that brings the total up to 11, and includes one of MW2's Engineering Leads and a couple other Engineering guys, all four of the Design Leads, one of the Art Leads, both of the Animation Leads, and one of the other animation guys.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Reg on April 15, 2010, 02:58:20 PM
This is amazing. How did Activision become even more evil and incompetent than EA without me noticing?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: HaemishM on April 15, 2010, 03:16:16 PM
They tried really really fucking hard.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Velorath on April 15, 2010, 04:50:50 PM
This is amazing. How did Activision become even more evil and incompetent than EA without me noticing?

I'm not sure how you didn't notice.  It's been going on for a few years now.  At least since the merger with Blizzard when Bobby Kotick said the line in the first panel during a conference call prompting the Penny Arcade strip:

(http://art.penny-arcade.com/photos/228852564_ebkPQ-L-2.jpg)


Then there was the time they dropped Ghostbusters, Brutal Legend, and a few other games, presumably because they didn't fit the "exploit on an annual basis model.  Then they tried to prevent Brutal Legend from being released at all by another publisher.

There's also the time that they bought Red Octane, exploited the fuck out of Guitar Hero, and then shut Red Octane down.

Plus there's the fact that Bobby Kotick unfailingly comes off as a complete douchebag every single time he opens his mouth.



Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on April 15, 2010, 04:52:42 PM
2010. It's 2015 all over again.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on April 15, 2010, 04:54:31 PM
I'm pretty sure it was Kotick that spewed the "culture of fear" comment in regard to game devs. I have to go to work in a min, and f13 along with most all gamesites are nowadays blocked, so you might need to google it.



Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Velorath on April 15, 2010, 05:07:52 PM
I'm pretty sure it was Kotick that spewed the "culture of fear" comment in regard to game devs. I have to go to work in a min, and f13 along with most all gamesites are nowadays blocked, so you might need to google it.


Quote
"I don't think it is specific to video games. I think that if you look at how much volatility there is in the economy and, dependent upon your view about macroeconomic picture and I think we have a real culture of thrift. And I think the goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks that we brought in to Activision 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."

"I think we definitely have been able to instill the culture, the skepticism and pessimism and fear that you should have in an economy like we are in today. And so, while generally people talk about the recession, we are pretty good at keeping people focused on the deep depression."


In a speech at D.I.C.E. back in February, he claimed that he was just trying to be funny.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: HaemishM on April 15, 2010, 05:11:47 PM
I do not think he knows what that word means.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 15, 2010, 05:16:15 PM
Funny to rich white investors, maybe, but not to your paying customers or developers who are the backbone of your operation.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Velorath on April 15, 2010, 05:25:34 PM
Funny to rich white investors, maybe, but not to your paying customers or developers who are the backbone of your operation.

Either he hasn't realized on several occasions that what he says to rich white investors reaches the developers and customers, or he just doesn't give a fuck.  It took him six months after the original quote to bother explaining that:

Quote
"It was a line that I used for investors," he said. "It was mainly because I wanted [to explain to our shareholders that] we were responsible in the way that we made our games and that it wasn't some Wild West, lack-of-process exercise and that we really did give some thought to the capital being used to provide a return to shareholders."


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 15, 2010, 05:46:17 PM
There's going to be a point where Activision Blizzard's ways are going to catch up with them. Infinity Ward is a prime example of success that shatters, and I can only see AB demanding increasingly bigger and better performance from what properties it does have. Why put everything into your products and make a blockbuster when IW is your fate?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on April 16, 2010, 05:23:57 AM
hmmm yeah. I think I might go with the original quote rather than the "joke" explanation that came along later on.

Also, this:
There's going to be a point where Activision Blizzard's ways are going to catch up with them.
Why put everything into your products and make a blockbuster when IW is your fate?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: HaemishM on April 16, 2010, 11:01:15 AM
Why put everything into your products and make a blockbuster when IW is your fate?

You like to eat? Remember, most developers don't have the luxury of having the EA's of the world come begging to give them money in exchange for the eventual exploitation they will endure.

As for Activision, I'm quite sure they will smile all the way to the bank with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, 4 and 5 before they retire the franchise.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 16, 2010, 11:26:26 AM
Yes, let's apply my statement to all developers in the industry instead of ones under AB's umbrella, since that was my intent.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: HaemishM on April 16, 2010, 01:32:40 PM
Other than Blizzard, I'm not sure there are too many devs under the AB umbrella that my statement wouldn't apply to.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 16, 2010, 02:27:33 PM
Passion is the main reason people get into the games industry, not a paycheck. It is a fire that needs certain factors to keep burning bright. Low morale, and seeing what your overlords are doing, can have a dramatic effect on that passion's brightness and may even kill it.

Leaders who are able to inspire and encourage their employees get the most out of them and see the type of success they want to see happen from passionate people.

Seeing EA's responses, and how biting, smart, and precise they are, has won them some points in my book, aside from what appears to be a slow progression away from the monster they used to be.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on April 17, 2010, 06:03:49 AM
Counterpoint fo Haemish - As much as I love playing games, I can't see why intelligent people who want to have a life and job go into the industry, considering how disposable and disrespectfully the employees are treated. Maybe do it for a couple of years in your early twenties on your way to getting a real grown-up programming job somewhere. Most of the people running things seem to be idiot man-children like Dmart, Barnett, McQuaid, etc or businessmen who hate their products, consumers and employees, like Kotick.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Margalis on April 18, 2010, 12:18:48 AM
You could just not work for those people.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Sheepherder on April 20, 2010, 02:45:51 AM
If you're looking to get in on making an MMO, the only name worth mentioning currently is Blizzard.  Kotick is just riding the wave of another's success, and he's probably smart enough not to fuck with that.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: HaemishM on April 20, 2010, 04:37:29 PM
You could just not work for those people.

In the video game industry, I think those people vastly outnumber the type of people I'd want to work for. Douchebag man-child with pretensions of rockstar grandeur not only seems popular, I think it's actually an unwritten job requirement based on the preponderance of said manchildren in the industry.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: KallDrexx on April 20, 2010, 05:02:57 PM
You could just not work for those people.

In the video game industry, I think those people vastly outnumber the type of people I'd want to work for. Douchebag man-child with pretensions of rockstar grandeur not only seems popular, I think it's actually an unwritten job requirement based on the preponderance of said manchildren in the industry.

That is pretty much why I got out of the industry after working on Fury and the egotistical and failure that Adam Carpenter and the other lead/seniors were.  After we got laid off one of my friends who had worked for several game company told me that what happened with Fury and that kind of environment is pretty much 50% of the gaming companies out there.  I said fuck that and left the industry to higher paying jobs where I was respected.  He left for Pandemic, only to get screwed by EA and then got screwed at the next place. Meanwhile, since then my salary has gone up by over $10k and even in this economy I have amazing job security. 


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 20, 2010, 05:05:31 PM
Honestly? I want to work under Jason West and Vince Zampella. I want to see the leadership that their employees espouse that makes them devoutly loyal to them and motivates their ass to do great things.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: tgr on April 23, 2010, 07:49:35 AM
Quote from: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28202/West_Zampellas_Bonuses_Redistributed_Among_Remaining_IW_Employees.php
Bonuses lost by fired Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella have been "redistributed" among the studio's remaining employees, says a rep speaking on Activision's behalf.

Quote from: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28202/West_Zampellas_Bonuses_Redistributed_Among_Remaining_IW_Employees.php
"Vince and Jason had very large bonuses; those bonuses are being redistributed to everybody else, to the people who did not allegedly attempt to steal company secrets," writes Amrich, advising members of the group to look at Activision's counter-suit "for details about Vince and Jason's surreptitious attempts to photocopy and scan sensitive documents."

So stick around, get bonus, run like hell afterwards? :grin:


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 23, 2010, 11:47:11 AM
I'm surprised they did that given pending legislation.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: ahoythematey on April 23, 2010, 11:54:55 AM
Seven (And Counting) Ex-Infinity Ward Employees Join Respawn (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/704164/UPDATE-Five-And-Counting-Ex-Infinity-Ward-Employees-Join-Respawn.html?utm_source=g4tv&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=TheFeed)

So, West and Zampella are such horrible, scheming bosses (as Activision alleges), that ex-IW just can't wait to rejoin them?  I can't help but think that this part just makes it more obvious that Activision are the disgusting, conniving sleazebags in this fight.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: bhodi on April 24, 2010, 07:47:22 AM
So stick around, get bonus, run like hell afterwards? :grin:

I read somewhere that they were going to give bonuses, but I notice they don't say WHEN those bonuses are going to be given, or what the pay structure would be. I am sure it would be as big a hook to keep people as they could manage - 3 year vest, lump sum at end, etc.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 24, 2010, 11:53:47 AM
Probably get the bonus for MW2 once they ship MW3.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on April 28, 2010, 12:59:34 AM
Seven (And Counting) Ex-Infinity Ward Employees Join Respawn (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/704164/UPDATE-Five-And-Counting-Ex-Infinity-Ward-Employees-Join-Respawn.html?utm_source=g4tv&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=TheFeed)

So, West and Zampella are such horrible, scheming bosses (as Activision alleges), that ex-IW just can't wait to rejoin them?  I can't help but think that this part just makes it more obvious that Activision are the disgusting, conniving sleazebags in this fight.

Pending someone's comment on why they are leaving IW and joining Respawn, it's very possible for those in IW to assume a bunker mentality and see that the grass is greener at Respawn. What it is like down the road is a whole other story.

It's very possible for both sides to be acting in the wrong, at least partially.

Blactivision has made some pretty strong allegations; it'll be interesting to see what they can actually show to back them up.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: ahoythematey on April 28, 2010, 04:13:14 AM
Here comes a new challenger! (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/04/activision-infinity-ward-employees-lawsuit-call-duty-modern-warfare.html)  IW-related lawsuit tally at three now?

Quote
More than three dozen former and current employees of Infinity Ward, the Encino-based development studio that made the hugely successful Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video games for Activision Blizzard Inc., have sued the publisher claiming that they are owed between $75 million and $125 million in unpaid royalties and potentially more in compensatory damages.
Quote
Of the 38 employees involved in the lawsuit, 21 are former employees of Infinity Ward;  17 still work there. Approximately 95 people worked at Infinity Ward on last November's Modern Warfare 2, meaning that about 40% of its employees at that time are now suing Activision.
Quote
It alleges that the publisher has withheld royalty payments in order to keep them from leaving as their former bosses did, putting at risk the potentially hugely lucrative release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 planned for late 2011.

"Activision engaged in this inappropriate course of conduct in an attempt to force employees of Infinity Ward to continue to work at a job that many of them did not want just so Activision could force them to complete the development, production and delivery of Modern Warfare 3," the suit says.

I'll stop there, but the whole article is quite quotable.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 28, 2010, 12:04:03 PM
Well, shit.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: taolurker on April 28, 2010, 07:22:09 PM
Activision to close Infinity Ward (http://www.edge-online.com/news/activision-to-close-infinity-ward-%E2%80%93-analyst)

CEO of Publishing for Activision resigns (http://kotaku.com/5526164/activision-ceo-griffith-resigns-from-post)


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Ard on April 28, 2010, 07:58:23 PM
The first link is speculation and doesn't really mean anything.  Any one of us here could have called that, and there's still a high chance it won't happen.
The second however is interesting, and I'm hoping the reasons he left come to light.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 28, 2010, 08:04:32 PM
Yeah that link's title was a bit misleading.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: sickrubik on April 29, 2010, 01:04:10 PM
"Hey, what could make this whole thing weirder?"

Industry Shocker: Halo Developer Bungie Studios Signs Deal With Activision
 (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/704328/Industry-Shocker-Halo-Developer-Bungie-Studios-Signs-Deal-With-Activision-.html)


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Stormwaltz on April 29, 2010, 05:15:37 PM
Halo Developer Bungie Studios Signs Deal With Activision
 (http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/704328/Industry-Shocker-Halo-Developer-Bungie-Studios-Signs-Deal-With-Activision-.html)

You have chosen... poorly.

(http://www.animeofthestate.org/images/lastcrusadeknight.jpg)


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 29, 2010, 05:18:17 PM
My friends are mocking me for my "cautiously pessimistic" viewpoint of this development.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on April 30, 2010, 09:18:56 AM
So, uh, Call of Duty: Black Ops was announced today.  Don't the IW guys claim to hold the rights to Call of Duty titles in a modern setting?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on April 30, 2010, 11:42:54 AM
Yes, they did. I hope they get within a week of launching this game, lose the lawsuit, and cannot publish this game unless they give West and Zampella all the venture capital they need to make their own game before they sign off on this game.

Also? Worst announcement ever. Not even a fucking screenshot on that website. They have nothing but a name to show, and not even a distinctive logo? What the fuck? Maybe I'm spoiled by how Blizzard announces a game. You don't need a convention but an initial package of goodies rather than a ho-drum "Yeah we're releasing a game in six months" would be great.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: sickrubik on April 30, 2010, 12:09:41 PM
I guess there is talks that "Black Ops" may not be an actual "modern" game. There was talk that the Treyarch was working on a Vietnam based CoD.

Additionally, maybe IW's claim was to specifically "Modern Warfare". They originally did not want the term "CoD" attached to it, but Marketing pushed for it (and won).


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Rendakor on May 02, 2010, 07:00:31 PM
I guess there is talks that "Black Ops" may not be an actual "modern" game. There was talk that the Treyarch was working on a Vietnam based CoD.

Additionally, maybe IW's claim was to specifically "Modern Warfare". They originally did not want the term "CoD" attached to it, but Marketing pushed for it (and won).
From what I've heard, CoD: Black Ops is in fact set in Vietnam. Also, IW's claim is to all post-Vietnam Call of Duty titles IIRC.

Fake edit: From back on page one:
Gee-zus Christ.

Fuck.

These are some pretty bad allegations. If it weren't for West and Zampella maintaining creative control of post-Vietnam Call of Duty titles, Activision could just pay them off and snatch up the CoD brand. This probably explains why Treyarch's CoD is in Vietnam. West and Zampella had the keys.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on June 15, 2010, 06:18:22 PM
Also? Worst announcement ever. Not even a fucking screenshot on that website. They have nothing but a name to show, and not even a distinctive logo? What the fuck? Maybe I'm spoiled by how Blizzard announces a game. You don't need a convention but an initial package of goodies rather than a ho-drum "Yeah we're releasing a game in six months" would be great.

And no, having a concert for your employees featuring Eminem & Rhianna as your COD: Black Ops spokesperson does not count as good promotion of the game.

Fuck me, I can't wait for PAX.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Azazel on November 13, 2010, 09:37:54 PM
Any of our newshounds found any updates to this? The suit and counter-suits and so forth?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on December 22, 2010, 03:29:07 AM
Activision adds EA to its complaint against West and Zampella. (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/32159/InDepth_Activision_Adds_EA_To_400M_CrossComplaint_Against_West_Zampella.php)

The documents paint West and Zampella as less-than-angels in dealing both with Infinity Ward and Blizzard Activision, plus adds John Riccitiello as someone who directly approached West and Zampella in the efforts to poach them.

Side note: I want my law firm to be Gang Tyre, because it sounds like they deliver their legal arguments with baseball bats.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on January 10, 2011, 03:33:46 AM
West, Zampella object to EA addition in Activision suit. (http://au.gamespot.com/news/6285951.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=hot-stories&tag=hot-stories%3Bstory%3B3)

By adding EA to the suit, Activision Blizzard will delay the trial, which will see West & Zampella's legal bills mount up. So they want either 1) EA not added to the suit or 2) the trial date not change if EA is added.

Not sure if this is a great message to send to someone who is happy to try and crush you: "We're poor, so let's get this over quickly!".


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on March 20, 2011, 03:35:01 AM
Court says EA should stay in the suit with West, Zampella against Activision. (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/03/judge-includes-electronic-arts-in-activision-lawsuit-over-infinity-ward.html)

So there's a good chance EA and Activision Blizzard will go head-to-head over this. It'll be interesting to see how far this goes.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on April 03, 2011, 11:39:47 PM
And now West / Zampella go at Blizzard Activision for fraud. (http://au.gamespot.com/news/6306847.html?tag=latestheadlines%3Btitle%3B2)

The interesting thing here is if they win these points, they could end up co-owning the Modern Warfare IP with Activision Blizzard, which would be a huge thing. And more lawsuits.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Outlawedprod on June 15, 2011, 01:22:59 PM
The game is afoot.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2011/06/court-rules-that-activision-must-answer-former-infinity-ward-execs-charges/1


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on June 15, 2011, 01:31:33 PM
It'll be amusing to see the shitstorm that erupts when MW3 ships but Activision loses the lawsuit.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: MahrinSkel on September 30, 2011, 03:49:35 AM
The lesson the publishers will take from this: Activision should never have left Infinity Ward with enough money to sue.

--Dave


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Murgos on September 30, 2011, 12:33:24 PM
Was there a status update on this?


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on September 30, 2011, 01:00:12 PM
None that I could see. Appeared to be a drive-by comment.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: MahrinSkel on October 01, 2011, 05:28:35 PM
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngaudiosi/2011/09/09/activision-call-of-duty-court-confrontation-set-for-may-7-2012/ (http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngaudiosi/2011/09/09/activision-call-of-duty-court-confrontation-set-for-may-7-2012/)

My apologies for the driveby.  Court hearing was set for next May.

--Dave


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Outlawedprod on May 17, 2012, 05:33:51 PM
Quote
"Project Icebreaker" was, based on a recent filing from the upcoming trial, an ongoing Activision initiative to uncover information regarding West and Zampella by accessing their work email, computer, and phones. It was rolled out just months before the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
http://www.giantbomb.com/news/activision-infinity-ward-and-project-icebreaker/4152/


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on May 24, 2012, 09:58:50 PM
Interview with the men themselves.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/05/24/respawn-39-s-west-and-zampella-sound-off-on-upcoming-activision-lawsuit.aspx


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Rendakor on May 31, 2012, 03:49:54 PM
Just settled out of court.

http://www.theverge.com/gaming/2012/5/31/3049988/activision-call-of-duty-trial-placeholder#


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on May 31, 2012, 09:22:00 PM
Predictions: Activision keeps COD (which has a bleaker future than when MW2 came out) and avoids any further embarrassing releases of confidential information (Destiny), exposed business practices, and potential reputation backlash, and West / Zampella & Co. likely get compensated for the trouble and can move on with their new projects and relationship with EA.

Not the Making Activision Their Bitch I was hoping for, and going out with a whimper, but it's better than other alternatives.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: Rendakor on May 31, 2012, 09:50:23 PM
COD (which has a bleaker future than when MW2 came out)
wat. Black Ops broke MW2's sales records, then MW3 broke BO's. Anecdotal evidence aside, the COD franchise has not lost any steam and I expect BO2 to continue the trend.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: LK on June 01, 2012, 01:30:40 PM
Forgot about that, especially considering MW3 MP is my current gaming choice and my opinion that the gameplay is still super tight and that those maps are very high quality.

Wishful thinking on my part.


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on March 04, 2013, 10:46:03 AM
Because there's still some life here: West retires from Respawn Entertainment on family grounds (http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/3/4060292/respawn-jason-west-retirement).


Title: Re: There's a Story Here, Somewhere.
Post by: UnSub on June 19, 2013, 03:26:17 AM
Great Vanity Fair article on the whole thing (http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/06/lawsuit-video-game-activision-zampella-west).

Key points:

 - Zampella and West appear to have pulled a similar process of taking a studio with them when they went from 2015 to Activision

 - Zampella and West no longer get on personally

 - Activision were trying to keep Infinity Ward tied to them while Infinity Ward was trying to break off as an independent studio

 - Both sides come out looking grubby