Activision is most likely not very happy right now. Why? 38, yes 38, employees of their all-star developer Infinity Ward are now filing a lawsuit the company.
Activision has been holding back about 75 million to 125 million dollars back from the developers. Activision, using this unpaid money, was trying to “keep the employees hostage,” according to the lawsuit.
Activision, when questioned about the lawsuit by G4TV, replied “Activision believes the action is without merit. Activision retains the discretion to determine the amount and the schedule of bonus payments for MW2 and has acted consistent with its rights and the law at all times. We look forward to getting judicial confirmation that our position is right.”
After the jump, you can find the full list of employees involved. Some of the employees have already left Infinity Ward, but a large chunk are still at the studio. Who knows for how long though.
Continue reading 38 Infinity Ward Employees File Lawsuit Against Activision Over Unpaid Royalties
Prepare to be bombarded with Call of Duty. Including Activision’s yearly release of the franchise, another title will be joining the pile.
Actvision’s Dan Amrich confirmed that the other title is coming from Sledge Hammer Games that we heard started working on the series some time ago. This new entry is going to be in a different genre then that of the core titles.
When we will see this other entry in the series is currently unknown. Maybe at E3.
All three titles are due out in the next 2 years. We can probably expect Treyarch’s most recent entry this Fall and Infinity Ward’s next Fall.
Also, I’m tired of using Modern Warfare 2 pictures because of the whole Infinity Ward imploding thing. This time you get the box art from the original. Because the original Call of Duty is cool like that.
A few days ago, two more employees left Infinity Ward. John Paul Messerly, Lead Character Animator, and Mark Grigsby, lead animator who each served at least five years.
With nearly a dozen employees leaving the developer, one has to wonder how this effecting the team. An insider from Activision who contacted Kotaku described the situation of the team.
“They’re scared shitless,” said Kotaku’s inside source. They never saw this coming. They can’t believe what’s going on. At first they gave us some bullshit about moving up payments of all the money they owe us to sooner increments. That was when [designer] Todd [Alderman] and [engineer] Frank [Gigliotti] left. But with the announcement of Respawn and all the people leaving, they just got there heads in their hands.”
The insider said the publisher has lost their trust, and “IW as you know it is dead…and it will continue to crumble.” He expects more reports of Infinity Ward members leaving soon.
Another unnamed Infinity Wary member argued against the “dead” statement. “First off, yes, it is a shitty situation, but there are two kinds of people left: ones that are sticking it out for the money, and others who want to make something work. We are not dead, we definitely lost original team members, but not all of the talent.” He goes on to say “We are here for the long haul of keeping the Modern Warfare name alive.”
What a messy situation.
(2 Leaving Source: Joystiq)
Ex-Infinity Ward founders are setting up their new studio, but the team they left behind is getting smaller and smaller.
Three more employees have left Infinity Ward. Veteran programmer John Shiring, designer Macky McCandlish, and senior animator Bruce Ferriz are all leaving the team.
This sets a total of seven people who have left Infinity Ward recently.
At this rate, Infinity Ward might have a nice chunk of positions they will have to fill. Hopefully this doesn’t cause any issues with the quality of their next title.
(Shiring source: IGN)
(McCandlish and Ferriz source: Kotaku)
Call of Duty is the Madden of First Person Shooters. Now that Modern Warfare 2 has had some lovely shelf time to itself, it is time to start looking forward to another title launching later this year.
According to PlayStation Official Magazine UK, they are going to have details on the next Call of Duty. If tradition carries on, Treyarch will be the developer of this next title.
The magazine hits store shelves May 17 – a little under a month before E3 starts.
While the biggest of the big dogs over at Infinity Ward are gone and suing Activision, two more influential people are leaving the company.
Todd Alderman, Lead Designer, and Francesco Gigliotti, Lead Software Engineer, updated their LinkedIn accounts confirming that they have left Infinity Ward.
The terms on which they left the company is unknown at the moment and whether they left or forced to leave may never be known.
It really have yet to be seen how the absence of these employees will effect the Call of Duty titles developed by Infinity Ward, but the loss of four major employees may be a cause for concern among fans.
Things seemed to be calming down a bit over at Activision after Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella left, but now thing have been kicked up even more.
Now the founders of Infinity Ward are suing Activision over unpayed royalties.
Their lawyer goes into more details. “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. 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.”
The pair said they were “shocked by Activision’s decision to terminate our contract.” Zampella added that “we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid.”
West and Zampella are not only going for their money, but for the Modern Warfare franchise itself. They are asking to get the contractual rights to the Modern Warfare brand. Which would probably not make Activision very happy.
Activision isn’t going to let the loss of two employees stop Infinity Ward from continue riding the Call of Duty train.
According to a company memo G4 received, Activision Publishing president and CEO Mike Griffith wrote “Infinity Ward remains central to Call of Duty‘s future and we rely on the combined talent, expertise and leadership of the team there for its success.”
Fans will probably be happy to hear Infinity Ward will be working away at a new entry in the series alongside Modern Warfare 2 downloadable content. If rumors that Infinity Ward is growing tired of the Modern Warfare series are true though, the developers themselves might not be too happy to be stuck on Call of Duty train.
(Image Source: Newtech)
Infinity Ward’s Jason West and Vince Zampella have been confirmed to no longer be at Infinity Ward. When asked about exactly why Activision would not comment.
This whole fiasco isn’t stopping Activision though as they detailed plans for the upcoming entries in the Call of Duty Franchise.
As with tradition, Treyarch, developers of Call of Duty: World at War, will be releasing their latest offering for Call of Duty franchise this Fall. In the mean time Infinity Ward will continue working on Modern Warfare 2 downloadable content.
For 2011 though, Activision announced that a new team called Sledgehammer Games will be making a new Call of Duty title with a bit of a twist. This new entry in the series will expand into the action-adventure genre.
Off the top of my head the only thing I can think of is Zelda… with guns. I hope that isn’t it, but really it could be anything at this point.
Do you want Call of Duty roaming around in other genres? Or do you think it should keep to the first person shooter genre?
Something is up over at Infinity Ward according to G4. An inside source has told them that security has been kicked up a notch at the developer. A “bunch of bouncer-types” showed up at the office and would not disclose their purpose with the employees when questioned.
Heads of Infinity Ward Vince Zampella and Jason West reportedly went to talk with Activision, but had yet to be heard from again as of the time the inside source spoke with G4. The source did mention that recently relationships between Infinity Ward and Activision have been tense though.
Nothing else was said about the issue itself, but the insider said that the staff is “freaked out” and “confused.”
I can’t even begin to guess what is going on over there, and chances are we will never know either.
Update: What could possibly be Jason West’s Face Book was updated with this:
Whether or not this is really from his Face Book account is unknown at the moment, but reports also say that his Linkedln account lists that as of March 2010 he is no longer working with Infinity Ward.