Modern Warfare Creators Were Going To Make $16 Million Each In The Year They Were Fired

Illustration for article titled Modern Warfare Creators Were Going To Make $16 Million Each In The Year They Were Fired

All manner of dirty laundry is currently being aired the ongoing ongoing lawsuit between Activision and Vince Zampella and Jason West, creators of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.


A series of internal Activision emails indicate the projected 2009 and 2010 earnings of the most well-paid 30 employees at Infinity Ward. In 2010, the year that West and Zampella were fired, both men were slated to make $436,800 as a base salary and a whopping $13 million bonus, which when combined with their vested equity put their total projected compensation at $16.4 million apiece. Good gravy!

In the email attached to the spreadsheet above, Activision's Mike Griffith opines that while the spreadsheet indicated plenty of spare money to retain good employees, "we are paying way too many people way too much," and that "we need to find a way to put caps on our bonus payouts."

There's certainly no denying $13 million is one hell of a bonus.

Internal Email, Exhibit 655 [Court document via James Stevenson]


This whole thing is fishy. I don't know who to believe. I can't imagine anyone at IW doing anything to jeopardize 42M in bonuses. That's crazy. I also can't imagine Activision wanting to get rid of the IW cash cow. I mean giving up what, less than 4% of total revenue that's nothing compared to what the company was making off the brand.

Seems to me they both could have waited until the end of the current contract to renegotiate. Obviously one of the parties was too greedy to wait it out. Which one that was is beyond me, they both have their own negative track record.