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nekrosoft13
04-27-10, 08:08 PM
NICE

UPDATE 2:53 PM: Activision has issued a brief response to the lawsuit:

"Activision believes the action is without merit," said a company spokesperson over e-mail just moments ago. "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.

ORIGINAL STORY: The other shoe has now dropped.

I've obtained a copy of a lawsuit filed this morning in the Los Angeles Superior Court by 38 plaintiffs, calling themselves the "Infinity Ward Employee Group," against Activision. The Infinity Ward Employee Group (whom I'll refer to as IWEG throughout the rest of this story) alleges breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation of California labor code and more. The group is after a large amount of unpaid royalties.

"Activision owes my clients approximately $75 million to $125 million dollars," said Bruce Isaacs, one of the IWEG's attorneys at Wyman & Isaacs LLP, over the phone this afternoon. "Activision has withheld most of the money to force many of my people to stay, some against their will, so that they would finish the delivery of Modern Warfare 3. That is not what they wanted to do. Many of them. My clients' entitled to their money. Activision has no right to withhold their money -- our money."

The IWEG contains "a significant portion of the members of the creative team" who "designed, developed and delivered" Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to Activision. According to the lawsuit, $28 million has been delivered to Infinity Ward employees for bonuses related to Modern Warfare 2, but the suit alleges at least $54 million is still due from 2009 profits alone.

They want more than $54 million, however. The IWEG is looking "to recover between $75 million and $125 million, if not more, in compensatory damages." That number's derived from:


Unpaid bonuses from 2009 and 2010 sales generated by Modern Warfare 2 -- fourth quarter 2009 and first quarter 2010, specifically.
Bonuses "due and owing to them" past first quarter 2010.
"Bonus/royalty/profit participation" related to "technology/engine" royalties, "other special performance bonuses," "other studio bonuses" or "any other bonus/royalty/profit participation."'
Lost value on "restricted stock units" that Activision "promised" would vest (read: own it in your own name and purchase it from Activision) when Modern Warfare 2 sales eclipsed Modern Warfare 1, which "has long ago occurred."
Money owed as it relates to Modern Warfare 2 "sister games, including but not limited to" the oft-mentioned Modern Warfare 3, "if Modern Warfare 3 is ultimately delivered and marketed."
Interest rates related to the above sums of money.
The lawsuit focuses on royalties generated for Modern Warfare 2 following release and the agreement between Infinity Ward employees and Activision for receiving the subsequent bonuses. The IWEG contends the only condition for becoming eligible for said bonuses was delivering Modern Warfare 2 in time for the game's intended November 10, 2009 launch. Modern Warfare 2 did launch as scheduled on November 10 last year, generating $1.1 billion in 2009.

Modern Warfare 3 has been mentioned during the legal back-and-forth between ex-Infinity Ward leadership Vince Zampella and Jason West and Activision, and it's brought up again here, too.

The IWEG alleges Activision has "improperly withheld this specifically identifiable sum of money from the members of IWEG in order to force them to keep working for Activision so that Activision could receive delivery of Modern Warfare 3." The suit alleges Activision "made a calculated, purposeful and malicious decision" to withhold proper bonuses "in an attempt to force employees of Infinity Ward to continue to work at a job that many of them did not want just so Activision could force them to complete the development, production and delivery of Modern Warfare 3."

The legal language gets harsher, too.

"In short," reads the lawsuit, "Activision withheld the property of the IWEG in an attempt to keep the employees hostage so that Activision could reap the benefit of the completion of Modern Warfare 3."

What does the IWEG want in return? "At least in the additional amount of $75 million to $500 million as an award for punitive damages," continues the lawsuit, citing a number calculated from the blockbuster sales of Modern Warfare 2 and "Activision's net worth."

The IWEG also believes Activision violated California Labor Code during their alleged failure of payment.

"Activision has a duty to pay all of the members of the IWEG all of the money they are owed [...] within 72 hours of the termination of their employment," reads the lawsuit. "Activision, however, has failed to do so."

The full list of plantiffs mentioned in the suit (not all of them have left Infinity Ward): Todd Alderman, Frank Gigliotti, Roger Abrahamsson, Brad Allen, Mohammad Alavi, Richard Baker, Chad Barb, Keith Bell, Chris Cherubini, Taihoon William Cho, Chris Dionne, Joel Emslie, Robert Field, Steve Fuduka, Robert Gaines, Chance Glasco, Preston Glenn, Joel Gompert, Chad Grenier, Mark Grigsby, John Haggerty, Jacob Michael Keating, Chris Lambert, Ryan Lastimosa, Fairfax S. McCandlish IV, Jason McCord, Brent Mcleod, John Paul Messerly, Stephen Miller, Zied Rieke, Jon Shiring, John Slayback, Richard Smith, Geoffery Smith, Jiesang Song, Todd Sue, Rayme C. Vinson and Lei Yang. All are represented by Wyman & Isaacs LLP located in Los Angeles.

Bold claims. I've reached out to Activision for comment.

Clearly, however, the drama involving Infinity Ward is far from over.


http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/704273/Infinity-Ward-Employee-Group-Files-Lawsuit-Against-Activision-Over-Unpaid-Royalties-Alleges-Devs-Held-Hostage.html

I hope this at least temporary delays destroys CoD, maybe franchise reboot.

Buio
04-28-10, 03:33 AM
Hope they win or get a huge settlement. :)

Logical
04-28-10, 06:21 AM
I believe that Activision hold the rights to call of duty. In which case we will see more CoD games but more likley coming from another developer. It wouldn't surprise me if this could be the last we see of infinity ward if they do win theyre royalties as no doubt a lot more employee's will probably leave to Respawn Studio's.

It will be intereting to see Respawn studios (Infinity Ward) first game for EA and wether or not the PC customers are gonna get games from them that are independantly designed for the PC platform.

Bearclaw
04-28-10, 08:02 AM
:thumbsup:

rudedog
04-28-10, 08:37 AM
I believe that Activision hold the rights to call of duty. In which case we will see more CoD games but more likley coming from another developer. It wouldn't surprise me if this could be the last we see of infinity ward if they do win theyre royalties as no doubt a lot more employee's will probably leave to Respawn Studio's.

It will be intereting to see Respawn studios (Infinity Ward) first game for EA and wether or not the PC customers are gonna get games from them that are independantly designed for the PC platform.

remember that 2015 (studio that did MOH and then turned into IW) was a separate dev studio where EA published their MOH:AA title

From a very long conversation with Grant during the MW(1) community event. He told me that 2015 was miss-manged and they wanted to get out not from EA but from 2015.

Grant, Vince and Jason left and barely got IW off the ground. Developed CoD but was running out of money. Again EA came in but lucky for them at the time, they went with Activision. Sold part of the company to Activision then around CoD2 sold the rest of the company.

At that time IW wanted to go modern with CoD 2 but Activision said no stick with WWII (my personal fav setting).

Once MW1 sold very well, they controlled their own destiny but their heads got a little too big and now they're in a legal mess with their old employer....

Logical
04-28-10, 01:02 PM
Yes it certainly looks as though Vince and Jason are going back to there roots albeit with a lot more equity than they had at 2015.

If there first FPS game has anything as stupid as 'respawn net' for the PC version i am all but giving up on hope with the development team.

HiCZoK4
04-28-10, 01:33 PM
nice. I want those IW people to make their own studio and I wish they would get an opportunity to make games as they want to ;) :)

ViN86
04-28-10, 02:52 PM
Activision keeps claiming that the bonuses would be paid at the end of the fiscal year. But if that were the case then the IW guys wouldn't have a leg to stand on in this lawsuit.

Since a lawyer decided to take the case, it's probable that they have paperwork that states what/when they should have received their bonuses.

Bearclaw
04-28-10, 02:53 PM
nice. I want those IW people to make their own studio and I wish they would get an opportunity to make games as they want to ;) :)

+1

bob saget
04-28-10, 08:20 PM
nice. I want those IW people to make their own studio and I wish they would get an opportunity to make games as they want to ;) :)

+1

H3avyM3tal
04-29-10, 02:30 AM
I want them both to go out of business.
Is that too much to ask???

nekrosoft13
04-29-10, 11:52 AM
Activision to shut Infinity Ward - analyst NICE!!

Activision is likely to close Infinity Ward following the completion of the second Modern Warfare 2 map pack.

That's according to Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey, who predicts that Modern Warfare 3 development will be handled by two other studios.

"Continued defections from their Infinity Ward studio have created meaningful uncertainty around the future of their Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise," he said in an investor note.

"We expect Infinity Ward studio will be essentially closed after their next map pack release, with development work on Modern Warfare 3 spread between two studios not historically tied to the franchise."



Around a quarter of Infinity Ward's 100 or so staff are thought to have departed since early March, while many have reportedly joined ex-Infinity Ward bosses' EA-backed studio, Respawn.

This morning it emerged that 38 current or ex-staff have filed a lawsuit against Activision for breach of contract.

This is the story that just keeps on giving...

ViN86
04-29-10, 11:56 AM
I wonder who will be developing Bad Company 3... :lol:

nekrosoft13
04-29-10, 11:59 AM
you thinking of wrong series

ViN86
04-29-10, 12:08 PM
you thinking of wrong series

No, isn't the Bad Company series owned by EA? And so is respawn, right?

If they have a team that consists mostly of IW, I wonder if they will give the Bad Company 3 game to them or Dice again (assuming there is a BC3).

Get what I am saying? ;)

nekrosoft13
04-29-10, 12:09 PM
I hope it stays with DICE, they did an excellent job with BFBC2

ViN86
04-29-10, 12:13 PM
I hope it stays with DICE, they did an excellent job with BFBC2

Yea I agree. After all the patches at least. lol

rudedog
04-29-10, 01:56 PM
It should be noted that the above is from an industry analyst and not Activision.

Yaboze
04-29-10, 02:13 PM
At EA, they'll probably come up with a new IP to compete with CoD.

Logical
04-29-10, 06:49 PM
It wouldn't surprise me if Respawn Studios were given the next MoH to develop (not the one released this fall but the one after it).