July 10, 2010
Activision’s Modern Warfare
Late yesterday Kotaku reported that the Activision/Infinity Ward law suit will finally be heard in court on May 23rd 2011. That will be over one year after the incident happened in which Frank Zampella and Jason West were fired from their postions at the development studio they created. It will also be two weeks be for next years E3 so it will be interesting what Activision brings to the show next year. Since that fateful day back in March, West and Zampella have moved on an created Respawn Entertainment, which has signed with EA partners, Activsions biggest competitor. Also since then more than 40 employees have also left Infinity Ward either going on to Respawn Entertainment or reaching out to other ventures.
During the investigations remaining employees have said that Activision has kept IW in a “police state”. That’s hardly the type of enviroment to be creative in. The legal matters are broken up into several suits. West and Zampella are suing Activision for 36 million in unpaid royalties, and Activision has a counter suit against that claiming they were insuborant and breach of contract. The former employees have filed suit for 216 million in unpaid royalties. The IW employees tried going to CFO Thomas Tippl and when approched he just stated “get over it”. 216 million is a little hard to get over, especially when you create on of the most successful game franchises and put 2 years of hard work into that product.
I have bought 2 Activision games this year and feel guilty already for funding a company that is out to destroy creativity and looks solely at the bottom dollar. CEO Bobby Kotick reads the game industry as a spread sheet looking for his next big money maker, which is why I fear for Bungie. I know Bungie needed a large bank roll for their next project but I fear some how Activision will get their hands on the IP and choke it to death just how they did with Call of Duty and Guitar Hero franchises. In the middle of all of this drama is Treyarch trying to finish Call of Duty: Black Ops, which takes several cues from Modern Warfare 2. We’ll see how this game turns out and how well it is recieved by critics and comsumers alike.