Vince Zampella and Jason West's Case Against Activision Going to Trial

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#51 Posted by Chris2KLee (2332 posts) -

I really hope this does not jam up and waste time for the Respawn guys. I am really interested in seeing what they are working on, and would hate to see them stuck sitting in a courtroom instead of working on their new title.

#52 Posted by TheWesman (378 posts) -

To quote Bender: "The rich get richer"  Then he laughs.
 
So a few million switch hands between rich people.  Then they raise the prices of your precious map packs to pay the legal bills.

#53 Posted by Jethuty (1023 posts) -

@NickFerg said:

If you need someone to fill the role of Jimmy Olsen to your Clark Kent while you're in LA, I'll be your man. Or should I say boy?

Really?........REALLY?

#54 Posted by Korolev (1703 posts) -

@Applederp said:

If West and Zampella win the suit, would Modern Warfare 3 cease to exist? I don't know much about legal stuff

It depends - West and Zampella are arguing that they, and they alone, have the rights to develop Modern Warfare games. Activision is contending that Infinity Ward had the rights and that IW still exists. West and Zampell are countering that Activision had no right to fire them from IW and that their dismissal was unfair and so they still retain the rights. Activision counter that by saying that they bought IW outright and that they had the right to fire West and Zampella for any reason they wanted.

The entire issue boils down to the contract between West, Zampella and Activision. I haven't see the contract. West and Zampella have claimed that they are damned sure that they have a legally binding contract which gives them, personally, the exclusive rights to make MW games and that Activision legally owes them and the rest of the former (and current) IW staff massive bonuses from the sales of MW2. Activision says "nuh-uh".

The issue is very complex. If it really was as cut and dry as people make it out to be, there wouldn't be a court case. Both sides think the wording of the contract backs their story.

If West and Zampella win the court case, they actually could demand that the entire MW3 name be removed. They might even be able to demand that the game be pulled from store shelves, or that any coding by IW be stripped from the game. Would they be able to stop the game coming out? Well - they would be able to stop it being called Modern Warfare 3 if they win the court case - that much is for sure because one of the things they are claiming is exclusive rights to the MW name. But Activision could just call it Call of Duty: Modener Warfare or Call of duty: World Warfare and release the game with some changes.

The real issue is the bonuses and damages. If West and Zampella win the wrongful dismissal and IP suit, then they could claim massive damages. Not enough to sink Activision, but enough to really, seriously hurt them. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars, if not a billion dollars. Again, Activision could afford the loss, but it would be wounded.

I wouldn't worry too much about MW3. The court case is very unlikely to be settled by the end of the year, especially with so much money at stake. The trial could last more than 12 months, and I can guarantee you that no matter which side wins, the other side will appeal. There's too much money at stake. I'm betting that this entire debacle drags on for years, maybe it would even go to the Supreme Court of your United States.

Unless one side settles sometime in the next few months (and while that's not impossible, it's extremely unlikely. West and Zampella are out for blood and Activision doesn't want to pay a cent of royalties and bonuses to the guys who have given them such a headache), be prepared for a long, boring, lengthy court battle. Patrick, you might want to buy an apartment in the city in which this court case takes place.

#55 Posted by billyhoush (1192 posts) -

And the soul still burns...creative vs. suits. LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!!

#56 Posted by Korolev (1703 posts) -

On a personal level, I tend to think that West and Zampella are the good guys. Not because I hate Activision, I don't, but because it would make no sense otherwise. West and Zampella, despite being quite bloody wealthy, aren't as wealthy, well-connected or experienced in legal matters as Activision. If they didn't genuinely think they were in the right, then they wouldn't bring this to court. Activision, on the other hand, might know that they are in the wrong but are just trying to drag this out so that West and Zampella give up.

I can't see any logical reason why West and Zampella would sue Activision unless they thought they were genuinely right. Now, they might be deluded or mistaken in thinking that they are right, but I'm sure they think that they are. Activision, on the other hand, would fight this suit regardless of whether or not they are in the right.

Since I don't think West and Zampella are idiots, I'm tentatively giving them my support on this matter. The only other possibilities are that West and Zampella are idiots or that they are trying to cheat Activision - and neither of those possibilities make sense.

#57 Posted by sage2 (26 posts) -

@Tober: No

#58 Posted by Xpgamer7 (2379 posts) -

I'm ready for anything, this could go on for months.

#59 Edited by Babylonian (837 posts) -

@Korolev said:

@Applederp said:

If West and Zampella win the suit, would Modern Warfare 3 cease to exist? I don't know much about legal stuff

It depends - West and Zampella are arguing that they, and they alone, have the rights to develop Modern Warfare games......

.......Patrick, you might want to buy an apartment in the city in which this court case takes place.

Korolev, this was a fascinating and enormously helpful post. I feel like I understand this situation about eighty billion times better than I did two minutes ago. Thank you so much for this!

Also, a question: is the name "Modern Warfare 3" the only thing in contention here, or is it the entire "Modern Warfare" franchise? If so, wouldn't taking the name "Modern Warfare 3" off the game be an inadequate solution, since the game is a direct followup to the storyline and characters of MW2? How much of MW3 as we know it could be in jeopardy because of this case?

Either way, this is super interesting. Thanks again for applying your expertise to this.

#60 Posted by CrimsonNoir (401 posts) -

can't wait for the movie that comes out of this. seriously, the biggest selling gaming franchise being fought for with behind the scenes scheming from everyone. i'd definitely watch it.

#61 Posted by Sweep (8837 posts) -

Fuck yeah! I hope they win, and I hope respawn busts out some sick game in a couple of years.

Moderator
#62 Posted by Capt_Ventris (592 posts) -

@CrimsonNoir said:

can't wait for the movie that comes out of this. seriously, the biggest selling gaming franchise being fought for with behind the scenes scheming from everyone. i'd definitely watch it.

And Bobby Kotick can play himself

#63 Posted by hallgren (31 posts) -

@Sweep said:

Fuck yeah! I hope they win, and I hope respawn busts out some sick game in a couple of years.

I am with you 100% I can't wait to see what these two come up with!

#64 Posted by JEC03 (898 posts) -

Just don't let Nancy Grace cover this.

#65 Posted by Djeffers03 (2545 posts) -

This has all the making of a movie! It could be the sister movie to The Social Network! ;)

#66 Posted by Kadayi (185 posts) -
@Capt_Ventris said:

@CrimsonNoir said:

can't wait for the movie that comes out of this. seriously, the biggest selling gaming franchise being fought for with behind the scenes scheming from everyone. i'd definitely watch it.

And Bobby Kotick can play himself

Kotick is certainly a man who loves playing with himself for sure. 
#67 Posted by TOYBOXX (310 posts) -

From what I've heard, Adam Sessler has already purchased a fedora hat for you for the good day one coverage of this mess back in the G4 days.  
 
Keep it up Patrick! Soon enough you'll be the Tom Brokaw of gaming news!

#68 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

I hope they rip each other apart

#69 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

Go get'em Vince and Jason. Show the world Activision's black and vile heart!

#70 Posted by MajorToms (366 posts) -

There was a part of me hoping this would have been settled already. I feel for the loyal Infinity Ward team, though I don't support them all the time. (I'm not a huge CoD fan, alright?)

However, there is another part of me that wants to see this go to the courts, and news go international. Exposure of the ways that Activision and Bobby Kotick do business. Exposing the rift they have brought to the video game industry. Making games is not like making cars, Mr. Kotick. You make a model one year. Follow up with a much more advanced model the next time around. Don't force your devs to pump shit title after shit title out in your world quest for all the money in existence.

#71 Posted by sandwich_adjustment (685 posts) -

i will pay double my subscription if we will have a Giant Bomb courtroom sketch artist

#72 Posted by EDfromRED (126 posts) -

 Common sense tells you that West and Zampella are the ones in the right. If they were unscrupulous , shifty pricks, there's no way they would be able to assemble such a talented pool of employees, the best from Infinity Ward among them, for Respawn.
I'm greatly looking forward to Respawns project, and have no plans on picking up Modern "Rail Shooting" 3
#73 Posted by LethalKi11ler (1406 posts) -
@Sweep said:
Fuck yeah! I hope they win, and I hope respawn busts out some sick game in a couple of years.

#74 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2662 posts) -

@edfromred said:

Common sense tells you that West and Zampella are the ones in the right. If they were unscrupulous , shifty pricks, there's no way they would be able to assemble such a talented pool of employees, the best from Infinity Ward among them, for Respawn. I'm greatly looking forward to Respawns project, and have no plans on picking up Modern "Rail Shooting" 3

The whispers around the water cooler when this went down were that West and Zampella were trying to shop themselves, the MW ip, and Infinity Ward around. So in effective, they might have been breaking their contracts and being insubordinate. Thus, there could very well have been unscrupulous pricks.

I honestly do not think West and Zampella will win, and their actions might indeed go against them if theyr were shopping around teh MW IP and themselves. It seems far more likely Activision was following the letter of the contract very closely, and when West and Zampella a breached the contract Activision followed a legal defensible course of action. What seems far less likely then Infinity Ward found a loophole on their side of the contract that would allow representative of IW to shop around a game in development for another publisher.

#75 Posted by aspaceinvader (257 posts) -

I can see activison's cod title after mw3.  COD: Company at war. The villan  Bobby Kotick(cat stroking) laughs "now we have destroyed the guitarhero genre, i hope we can milk the douchebag gamers with this new rehashed cod:mw3","it's the same game we made 2 times before with some new features which are old idea's". He laughs and says "i want to rule the world haha ha ha(in his best doctor evil laugh)".  Zampella and west upon hearing this want no part of his plan start a courtroom battle. See the e3 demo of this explosive action in 2012 were you play unnamed ace attourney(due to copy right infringement cannot be named).

#76 Posted by GozerTC (456 posts) -

You know what I hope happens?  That this goes to court and ALL the information is divulged. I know it'll be more work for Patrick but getting the actual time lines, what was really going on, and finding out how in the wrong everyone is will be good to know.  Needed info?  NO, but good to know. :)  
#77 Posted by confideration (405 posts) -

The real story never comes out when things go to trial. All kinds of things turn out to be inadmissible as evidence and a complicated business matter left up to a jury is basically a coin flip when you ask if the right call was made in the end.

#78 Posted by DarthB (247 posts) -

My guess on how it finishes, activision gives them a truckload of money and keeps the rights to cod.

#79 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

I really hope Jason and Vince win this if this goes to trial (I hope it does).  How awesome would be be if Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 launched from Activision this fall, and then the duo gets the rights to MW3 and CoD:MW3 is taken off shelves or whatever would happen in that situation, then they make Modern Warfare 3 and show how the franchise was truly supposed to be.  How awesome would that be?!

#80 Posted by buft (3315 posts) -

The truth will soon be revealed and im hoping it goes to Judge Judy

#81 Posted by inevitabledoubt (9 posts) -

This is gonna be fascinating to watch

#82 Posted by MadExponent (305 posts) -

I'm entering law school in the fall, very interested if they have any credibility. When I read the original claims, it looked like a case of "what? we can't talk to competitors and pitch game ideas while under contract?" If that's the case, I see them going down hard against Acti. I'm very interested in seeing where this goes.

#83 Posted by Halberdierv2 (1869 posts) -
@MadExponent said:

I'm entering law school in the fall, very interested if they have any credibility. When I read the original claims, it looked like a case of "what? we can't talk to competitors and pitch game ideas while under contract?" If that's the case, I see them going down hard against Acti. I'm very interested in seeing where this goes.

where do they have the lawsuit put up online?
#84 Posted by Saga (181 posts) -

Nice. Hopefully they win and make the MW what it used to be and not the fad that it has become.

#85 Posted by BUCK3TM4N (549 posts) -

wasnt this patrick guy from G4 or am i goin crazy?

#86 Posted by SonicFire (821 posts) -
@BUCK3TM4N said:
wasnt this patrick guy from G4 or am i goin crazy?

Yes, same Patrick who broke the story back then.
#87 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

This is never going to court. Everyone always settles.

#88 Posted by FritzDude (2262 posts) -

Trial HD.

#89 Posted by YOUNGLINK (544 posts) -

oh snap, Pat's going to get famous all over again!  REPRESENT CHICAGO!

#90 Posted by jmrwacko (2443 posts) -
@cartvader said:
They are seeking the IP for "Modern Warfare" in addition to Money.  Depending on when it goes to court I would thinking stopping MW3 would be possible.  Would be interesting to see if they file an injunction to prevent it's release in November.
I hope Zampella and West get back the rights to CoD and delay MW3 to redevelop it into a game that won't suck. I'm psyched for BF3 like the rest of the PC gaming community, but I hate to see one of my favorite franchises go down the tube just because Kotick is a bridge troll.

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