Activision Pull EA Into West/Zampella Lawsuit

Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, keep those lawsuits rollin’.  Remember the fascinating lovers’ tiff earlier this year that gave the gaming world the closest thing to a soap opera that we’re likely to have, namely the whole Activision, Infinity Ward, West/Zampella, exodus, EA hooha?  Well, it is the playground scrap that will never die, as Activision have amended their pending lawsuit against the ex Infinity Ward heads, West and Zampella, to include their new partners, EA.  Well, who didn’t see that one coming.  Honestly, who, because we didn’t even bother running a sweep-stake on Acti’s next target, here at GLHQ.

According to, Activision have now dragged EA into their legal scrap with new documents which reportedly accuse EA of ‘unlawful conduct’ at the highest levels.  The papers go on to state that “Electronic Arts conspired with two former senior Activision executives [West and Zampella] to derail Activision’s Call of Duty franchise, disrupt its Infinity Ward development studio, and inflict serious harm on the company.” And presumably called their mother fat.  Activision are demanding a groin-wincing $400 million in damages.  Ouch.

The whole thing started earlier this year when Activision security stormed’ Infinity Ward HQ, fired and marched Jason West and Vince Zampella out, citing reasons of ‘insubordination.’  They countered that it was Acti’s way of weasling out of paying them bonuses for Modern Warfare 2 and promptly launched a suit against them, started up their own company – Respawn Entertainment, and jumped into bed with EA in their EA Partners program.  A mass exodus of writers, programmers, and more from Infinity Ward ensued – many of whom subsequently joined Respawn.  The whole debacle was watched with glee by gamers worldwide and prompted one wag to create this little YouTube gem (though it is now out of date, as more staff have subsequently jumped ship).

Activision, according to, have been gathering evidence against West and Zampella in an attempt to show that they were indeed conspiring with EA and also attempting to discredit Treyarch (also, COD developers) among other things. Also included are allegations that the duo attempted to block bonuses and incentives for other IW employees in order to encourage them to leave: “West and Zampella, were already appropriating for themselves approximately 1/3 of the total Infinity Ward bonus pool each quarter.”

Where the truth really lies we don’t know, however, it promises to be one hell of a colossal court scrap.  Neither Activision nor EA tend to give quarter and with West and Zampella being seen – whether through rose tinted specs or not – as mavericks, fighting back against the big bad beastie of Activision, there will be a lot of interest when this one finally reaches the courtroom.  With West and Zampella, as we remarked, being seen as the mavericks and being joined by EA in the dock, it seems likely that sympathies will lie with them, regardless of Activision’s evidence, given the current typical attitudes to Kotick’s behemoth.  Whether it is justified or not, Activision tend to be seen as the big bad of the industry these days, stealing the crown of the once maligned, and similarly loathed, EA.  EA, however, appear to be making strides in turning attitudes around in recent times, earning snaps for bringing new IP such as  Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge onto the market and becoming unlikely champions in their most recent court outing. No stranger to the inside of a courtroom, EA are fresh off a win against the notorious Tim Langdell and his Edge trademark trolling malarkey – a battle they viewed as a “milestone in protecting independent developers from nuisance litigation”  after putting an end to his bullying and coming out with an unexpected shine on their armour.

Here at GLHQ, we don’t think EA are trembling in their crocodile shoes just yet, but we look forward to the mother of all courtroom scraps next year – neither side will likely back-down and, at this point, it is hard to call it either way.  We can expect more barbs to be flung by either side before the dust settles once and for all though…right before the appeals will likely start.  Something tells us that this one will be a long time in the resolution.  Drama?  Yes, but we wouldn’t miss it for anything.  Pass the popcorn.


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One Comment

  1. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Loved this “And presumably called their mother fat” remark. I shouldn’t take sides, I should be the graceful site editor and sit on the fence but I can’t… Activision fired them. They, in turn, started up their own company and promoted their own products like any other company would… that’s not trying to inflict harm on Activision, that’s looking after number one. There’s a difference between propaganda and a smear campaign, and Respawn participated in run of the mill propaganda. I think Activision have a hell of a fight on their hands.

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