The expected legal death match between Activision and the 40 former employees that made up a chunk of Infinity Ward’s creative team, including Infinity Ward bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West, has been resolved without ever reaching the court. The case has been settled by both parties a day before arriving in court.
Zampella and West were fired for “insubordination” from Infinity Ward in March 2010 and sued the company for wrongful termination, claiming that the firings were motivated by Activision’s attempts to avoid paying them bonuses and royalties. When they were fired, nearly half the current members of the development team resigned. Activision’s response was to counter-sue, claiming that that pair had been intending to leave and take the development talent to Electronic Arts. EA were then brought into the case as defendants.
But the matter has now been resolved. According to a press release from Activision: “Activision Blizzard, Inc. today announced that all parties to the litigation have reached a settlement of the dispute, the terms of which are strictly confidential.
“The company does not believe that the incremental one-time charges related to the settlement will result in a material impact on its GAAP or non-GAAP earnings per share outlook for the current quarter or the calendar year, due to stronger-than-expected operating performance in the current quarter.”
That last line is rather telling: Activision incurred the costs so while the terms remain confidential, it does suggest a payment was made by them to resolve the matter.
With the agreement strictly confidential, we’ll never know unless the terms are released as part of Activision’s financial records, but EA had the something to say on the subject: “Activision’s refusal to pay their talent and attempt to blame EA were absurd. This settlement is a vindication of Vince and Jason, and the right of creative artists to collect the rewards due for their hard work.”
Respawn Entertainment, the studio formed by Zampella and West, are currently working on a game that EA will publish sometime in 2013.