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Infinity Ward's former co-founders level new charges against Activision

In their continuing legal fight against publisher Activision, former Infinity Ward co-founders Vince Zampella and Jason West have now added two more charges of alleged fraud against the publisher of the Call of Duty first person shooter game franchise. Gamespot reports that according to revised court documents, West and Zampella claimed they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Activision in 2008.

The court documents claimed that the two signed the document to secure more creative control and a bonus plan for sales of future games in the Call of Duty series. However they also claimed they were skeptical over Activision's motives. West and Zampella now claim that Activision had no plans to honor the MOU. Activision has yet to respond to these new charges.

Judge rules EA-Activision-Infinity Ward lawsuit can move forward

A judge in the ongoing lawsuit between Activision, Electronic Arts and the former co-founders of Call of Duty creators Infinity Ward has ruled that it can move forward to its next phase. Bloomberg reports that EA tried to get the lawsuit dismissed but California Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle thought otherwise, and only dismissed one of the counts and said that there was enough evidence on Activision's side to continue the case.

Just a recap (deep breath): Activision fired Jason West and Vince Zampella about a year ago from their posts at Infinity Ward, accusing the duo of "breaches of contract and insubordination". West and Zampella then filed a lawsuit against Activision, claiming the publisher didn't want to pay the large bonuses that they would claim from sales of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Other former and current Infinity Ward team members filed their own lawsuit for similar reasons. In December Activision dragged EA into the lawsuit, claiming EA worked with West and Zampella "to derail Activision's Call of Duty franchise." Previous to that West and Zampella formed Respawn Entertainment and secured a publishing deal with EA (exhale).

Rumor: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 countdown reveal started? [Update: No]

call of duty modern warfare 3 countdown
It usually happens about this time every year and it looks like it may be happening again this year. No, not the start of spring training but the first glimpse of the next game in the Call of Duty shooter series. A new web site, Findmakarov.com, has been spotted with a countdown clock that would suggest something is going to happen on Wednesday.

The web site address suggests the reveal is linked to the Modern Warfare spin-off of Call of Duty (Vladimir Makarov is one of the series' main bad guys). That would also suggest the game that will be revealed on Wednesday will indeed be Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. At the moment publisher Activision has only officially said there will be some kind of Call of Duty game that is due out this fall.

[Via VG247.com]

Update: Activision is now telling our sister site Joystiq that it has nothing to do with the countdown web site, nor with the mailing of dogtags to members of the media. However the countdown clock is clearly for something; we just don't know what.

Report: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 being made by three development teams

Activision's biggest game franchise by far is the Call of Duty franchise and everyone expects a new game in the series to be released by November of 2011. Now a report from the Los Angeles Times claims that the next game in the shooter series will indeed be Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and that three development teams are working on it.

According to the report, which does not name its sources, the game's main developer Infinity Ward is getting help on the single player campaign from another in-house developer Sledgehammer Games. Infinity Ward apparently needed the help since much of the team left the studio in 2010 following the firing of the studio's founders by Activision. In addition, the article claims that another developer, Raven Software, is handling the multiplayer portions of Modern Warfare 3. The downside? A Call of Duty spin-off game from Sledgehammer Games is now on hold while the team helps Infinity Ward.

In related news, our sister site Joystiq has all of the new and gory details of the current legal battle between Activision and Infinity Ward's former heads Vince Zampella and Jason West. In short, the court has now officially added Electronic Arts as a defendant in Activision's lawsuit against the duo.

Respawn Entertainment could have signed with THQ but ...

Last year, the buzz was all about Jason West and Vincent Zampella being fired by Activision from the development team the duo helped to create, Infinity Ward. The two people and many other folks who created the Call of Duty shooter franchise launched a new team, Respawn Entertainment, and signed a publishing deal with Electronic Arts soon afterward.

But in a new Wired.com article, THQ exec Danny Bilson says, "We were one deal point away from signing [Respawn]." Zampella also confirmed that the team had serious talks with the publisher. What happened? Respawn wanted to own the rights to the game they would make and that's something that THQ was not willing to give up. Bilson said that agreeing to such a deal would let other developers ask for a similar deal, saying, "My responsibility to our stockholders and to my CEO and the company is to build an IP library." EA's deal with Respawn gave them those ownership rights just as Bungie's recent publishing deal with Activision also gave the game IP rights to Bungie.

Report: Respawn Entertainment founders claim Activision lawsuit putting "burdens" on developer

The legal sparring between Activision Blizzard and the two founders of game developer Respawn Entertainment continue, according to a new report on Kotaku. The story states that in new legal documents the two former founders of Infinity Ward, Jason West and Vince Zampella, claim that they are "paying for this litigation from our own funds".

In December Activision Blizzard dragged fellow publisher Electronic Arts into its legal fight with West and Zampella. However West and Zampella now claim that the decision to bring EA into the mix was an attempt by Activision Blizzard to delay the start of the actual trial which at the moment is supposed to happen this May. The duo claim that " ... any delay of the trial in this lawsuit would increase the financial and non-financial burdens and would continue to distract us from running our business and earning a living."

Respawn was formed in April 2010 by West and Zampella after having been fired by Activision Blizzard as the co-founders and leaders of the Call Of Duty game development studio Infinity Ward last March. At the time Activision Blizzard accused the duo of "breaches of contract and insubordination" while West and Zampella stated that the publisher didn't want to pay the large bonuses that they would claim from sales of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Respawn is currently working on an unannounced game that will be published by EA.

Activision drags EA into lawsuit against Infinity Ward co-founders [Update]

The legal fight with publisher Activision and the fired co-founders of developer Infinity Ward has taken a new turn. According to new court documents posted by our sister site Joystiq, Activision has amended its own countersuit to include rival publisher Electronic Arts into its legal fight as a cross-defendant. Activision claims that EA "conspired" with Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella " to derail Activision's Call of Duty franchise, disrupt its Infinity Ward development studio, and inflict serious harm on the company."

In short, Activision claims that West and Zampella had secret meetings with EA CEO John Riccitiello as early as August 2009. It also claims that West and Zampella decided to "covertly copy certain materials". Activision is asking in the countersuit for $400 million in damages from EA, West and Zampella. After Activision fired the due from Infinity Ward in March, West and Zampella formed Respawn Entertainment and did get a publishing deal from EA. While they have yet to respond to this new countersuit, West and Zampella have claimed in the past Activision fired them rather than give the duo a large royalty check from the sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Update: The Los Angeles Times has posted EA's official response, saying, "This is a PR play filled with pettiness and deliberate misdirection."

Modern Warfare 2 DLC map packs on sale on Steam this week

We are not the first folks to complain about the high price of the two downloadable map packs for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Let's face it; $15 for a new new maps each is pretty steep. However, publisher Activision has decided to give PC gamers a price break for the next week on the two map packs.

From now until October 11, owners of the PC port of the mega-popular first person shooter will be able to purchase and download the two map packs via Steam for just $7.49 each, a 50 percent price drive. The Stimulus Pack and the Resurgance Pack each contain five maps which are a mix of all new levels and revamped ones from the first Modern Warfare game.

Respawn Entertainment's first game confirmed for PC?

It's been a few months since the co-founders of Infinity Ward were basically kicked out by Activision. While the two parties are now fighting it out in court, the co-founders and a number of other Infinity Ward team members have gone ahead and formed Respawn Entertainment.

While the team has yet to reveal what kind of game will be made, we at least know that whatever it is the game will be heading to PC hard drives. A jobs listing for the company on Gamasutra confirms, "Respawn intends to develop a multi-platform product that works on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC." With many other PC developers abandoning the plaftorm it's at least good to know that the Call of Duty creators are going to stick with the delivery system that helped to make them be a huge success.

Activision exec pledges not to tamper with Infinity Ward

It should have been the best of times for developer Infinity Ward. In 2009 the team released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 which went on to sell over 20 million copies. However earlier this year the game's publisher Activision fired the developer's co-founders and saw many of Infinity Ward's team members leave. Other current and former team members have filed lawsuits against Activision.

In a new interview at the Develop web site, Activision's VP Dave Stohl stated that the company wants Infinity Ward to come back from all of these issues, saying, "We're supporting Infinity Ward in that rebuilding process, and I use the term 'support' because as much as possible we don't want to tamper with that group of people." He also states that while recruiting new team members for the developer hasn't been a problem he adds, " ... finding the right people that will fit in well with the culture, they're the most important factors for us." Stohl says that in the final analysis, the developer will come back from these issues, saying, "Ultimately, Infinity Ward will rise from the ashes."
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