Remaining IW staff sue Activision

Written by Joe Martin

April 28, 2010 | 12:18

Tags: #call-of-duty #lawsuit #modern-warfare #respawn

Companies: #activision #infinity-ward #respawn-entertainment

As staff continue to flee Modern Warfare developer Infinity War a new lawsuit has been levelled against Activision over unpaid royalties.

Around 28 staff members have now left Infinity Ward, including studio founders Vince Zampella and Jason West, as well as all of Modern Warfare 2's lead design team. There are now 75 staff left at Infinity Ward, 17 of which have joined the Infinity Ward Employee Group and begun suing Activision. The 17 IW staff are joined by 21 who have already left.

The lawsuit is based on continuing allegations of unpaid bonuses, with plaintiffs claiming that promised royalties from the sale of Modern Warfare 2 are being kept back by Activision as part of a plan to keep staff at the studio and working on Modern Warfare 3.

The complaints echo the lawsuit bought against Activision by IW founders Zampella and West, who were the first to leave the studio and who have already launched a new business - EA Partnered Respawn Entertainment, which has picked up most of the fleeing IW team.

The new lawsuit is seeking $75 to $125 million USD in royalties, plus $75 to $500 million in punitive damages according to G4.

The lawsuit also coincides with the departure of two more Infinity Ward staff members - lead programmer Robert Field and HR Head Kristin Cotterell. Earlier this week Senior Level Designer Jason McCord and Senior Artist Ryan Lastimosa also quit.

"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" said an Activision spokesperson. "We look forward to getting judicial confirmation that our position is right."

Activision has also maintained that Infinity Ward will remain a good studio and a promising start for new talent, while also pursuing a lawsuit of its own against former staff.

Activision blogger Dan Amrich has also advised Infinity Ward staff to stay at the studio, if only to get hold of their bonuses. Amrich claims that bonuses from quitting staff are being redistributed among existing workers.

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