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Infinity Wardgate: Ousted execs fire accusations, Activision responds

March 4, 2010

The legal battle between former IW execs Jason West and Vince Zampella with Activision spills over into today with allegations of  “Orwellian investigations” and “unfair dismissals.”

According to an internal memo sent to g4tv.com, Activision states that the legal dispute “involves West and Zampella’s management of IW, as well as the development and marketing of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (“MW2“), and potential subsequent games developed by IW.

The company believes to have done nothing wrong and will defend against any claims West and Zampella throw at them in court. To help their case, Activision is looking for some documents regarding the duo, including documents regarding any projects under their leadership at IW, documents regarding any plans of breaking off from the company to form their own independent studio, and, most interestingly, “Documents regarding West and Zampella’s communications with Activision’s competitors, including but not limited to Electronic Arts.”

For the rest of the back and forth, hit the jump.

West and Zampella claim that the publisher refused to explain the basis of the investigation, insisting “in Orwellian fashion” that the two “already have a clear understanding of what they have or have not done.”

According to court documents released earlier today, Activision “conducted the investigation in a manner designed to maximize the inconvenience and anxiety it would cause West and Zampella,” along with having the duo “interrogated for over six hours in a windowless conference room” and that other Infinity Ward employees were “brought…to tears” by Activision investigators.

West and Zampella believe that the investigation was “a charade,” citing “trumped up grounds for termination” and “charges that were disproved in the investigation” at the root of their March 1 dismissal. They claim that Activision “already made up its mind” to terminate the two in an attempt to stop them from receiving further payment.

Activision, however, is not too happy to hear these allegations and responded back.

“Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless,” said a company spokesperson in a mass e-mail. “Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

“In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

Of note so far is Activision has not yet disclosed what sort of “insubordination” West and Zampella were dismissed over. The two are seeking over $36 million in their lawsuit for “breach of contract,” “breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,”  “wrongful termination,” and “declaratory relief.”

We’ll keep you posted as this legal back-and-forth continues.

[NeoGAF]

[g4tv]

[Kotaku]

[Joystiq]

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