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Infinity Ward suing Activision for massive sum

Submitted by on Wednesday, 28 April 20104 Comments

‘Ding ding’ round…actually we have lost count of how many rounds the fight between Infinity Ward and Activision has gone – but needless to say it’s continuing at full pelt.

It has now been announced that staff and ex-staff from Infinity Ward are suing Activision for – amongst other things – withholding bonuses from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Will someone please make this into a movie?

The plaintiffs are calling themselves the Infinity Ward Employee Group (IWEG) and are made up of a significant portion of the members of the creative team behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  They claim that Activision owes them between $75 million to $125 million dollars – you could almost buy a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 special edition with that!

One of the IWEG’s attorneys at Wyman & Isaacs LLP – Bruce Isaacs – had the following to say;

 “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.  My clients’ entitled to their money. Activision has no right to withhold their money — our money.”

They are allegedly seeking to claim between $75 million up to $500 million as an award for punitive damages.  These figures pertain to;

  • 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.

Of course, Activision has responded to these allegations, saying;

“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.”

All of this doesn’t bode well for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as it seems that – spiritually at least – Infinity Ward is dead.  The name may remain but with so many staff leaving, the company is just a shadow of what it used to be.