Jason West and Vince Zampella, the men at the centre of this week's drama at Call of Duty developers Infinity Ward, have filed suit against Activision over claims they are owed "substantial royalty payments".
"Activision has refused to honor the terms of its agreements and is intentionally flouting the fundamental public policy of this State (California) that employers must pay their employees what they have rightfully earned," said the pair's attorney, Robert Schwartz, of law firm O'Melveny & Myers. "Instead of thanking, lauding, or just plain paying Jason and Vince for giving Activision the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public, last month Activision hired lawyers to conduct a pretextual 'investigation' into unstated and unsubstantiated charges of 'insubordination' and 'breach of fiduciary duty,' which then became the grounds for their termination on Monday, March 1st."
West and Zampella are coming out swinging. "We were shocked by Activision's decision to terminate our contract," Jason West says. "We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we've been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we've done speaks for itself."
"After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn't have to sue to get paid", Zampella adds.
Interestingly, in addition to seeking the unpaid royalties, the pair are also after "the contractual rights Activision granted to West and Zampella to control Modern Warfare-branded games". Whether that means they want to make "Modern Warfare" games without Activision, or would seek to have the brand buried if it's without their input, is unclear. We'll update when we hear more.