Infinity Ward lawsuit going to trial with EA, Activision, West & Zampella

By Alice O'Connor, Dec 23, 2011 7:00am PST

The big "he said, the monolithic corporation said" video games kerfuffle of 2010, the fallout from Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella leaving Activision to sign up with Electronic Arts, is indeed going to trial. On Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge denied EA's motion for summary judgement on the complex lawsuit, as well as one from West and Zampella, meaning the big Call of Duty mess will go before a jury next year.

West and Zampella were fired by Activision in March 2010, and quickly sued the publisher for unpaid royalties and control over the Modern Warfare brand, created at Infinity Ward. Activision counter-sued in April, claiming the pair attempted to undermine IW so it could poach employees for a new studio, and had been in clandestine meetings with a then-unnamed competitor.

A few days later, West and Zampella announced the formation of Respawn Entertainment, signing an exclusive publishing arrangement with EA. Forty-odd Infinity Warders eventually followed West and Zampella to Respawn. A number of people who worked on Call of Duty games at IW also sued Activision, for up to $125 million in unpaid royalties.

Activision later added EA to its counter-suit, claiming that it had conspired with West and Zampella, and seeking $400 million in damages for contract interference.

With the summary judgement motions from EA and the duo denied, the case will go before a jury on May 7, 2012.

In a statement provided to USA Today, West and Zampella's attorney said, "We are eager to get to trial on May 7 to prove Jason and Vince's case against Activision for firing them without cause and denying them the money they earned. Activision's claims against EA are a smoke screen, seeking to distract attention from Activision's atrocious behavior to Jason, Vince, and the rest of the Infinity Ward team."

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