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“Infinity Ward Employee Group” Suing Activision for $150 to $625 Million

April 27, 2010 Written by Dan Massi

Oh my. The battle of Infinity Ward and Activision has heated up – and it has heated up drastically. The two companies have had quite a shuffle since the firings of Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West. It seems that employees from the Modern Warfare 2 developer are leaving by the droves, and finally, they’ve gotten together to hit Activision where it hurts most.

News broke today that former Infinity Ward employees, along with current members of the team, are suing Activision for breach of contract. The lawsuit filed was retrieved by G4, revealing that 38 plaintiffs are involved, calling themselves the “Infinity Ward Employee Group.” The group are seeking “to recover between $75 million and $125 million, if not more, in compensatory damages,” along with another $75 to $500 million for “punitive damages.” Also, according to the lawsuit, Infinity Ward was only paid $28 million in bonuses – but apparently, Activision still owes another $54 million for the 2009 year. However, the group wishes for more money from the company, due to the following:

  • 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 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.

Bruce Isaac’s, the group’s lawyer, has said that Activision is withholding most of the money to keep Infinity Ward members, so they continue work on the inevitable Modern Warfare 3.

“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 are entitled to their money. Activision has no right to withhold their money — our money.”

Due to the accusations, Activison has made a comment, stating that they have “acted consistent with its rights and the law at all times.”

“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.”