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Black Ops 2 may put Activision in legal hot water

by John Keefer, May 09, 2012 8:30am PDT

Activision is already going at it in court with Jason West and Vince Zampella over their dismissal from Infinity Ward in 2009, but a clause in a Memorandum of Understanding filed with the lost wages and royalties suit in 2010 could affect the recently announced Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

According to Game Informer, Activision continues to hold the rights to the Call of Duty franchise, but Call of Duty games set in "modern day (post Vietnam), the near future or distant future" would be retained by Infinity Ward. With Black Ops 2 set in 2025, developer Treyarch put a lot of thought in the futuristic setting. An intellectual property attorney said that, if West and Zampella win their suit, Activision could be forced to pull the game, but a more likely scenario is money damages awarded by the court.

However, clause 4(d) at the end of the memorandum specifically states that if IW management (Ward and Zampella) are no longer employed by Activision, then the terms of the memorandum are no longer in effect. This seems to override any potential problem, but it is yet another issue that the court must rule on.

With Black Ops 2 setting pre-order records, the game could be a cash cow for Activision. A ruling against the publishing giant, though, could mean West and Zampella would get prime cuts of that cow if the employment clause is not enforced.

To see why the game is generating such excitement, check out Garnett's preview and the game trailer below:





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