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Activision counter-sues ex Infinity Ward heads

MW3 pre-production delayed by "self-serving schemers" attempting to "hijack" the company

Activision Blizzard has filed a counter lawsuit against ex-Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella which accuses the pair of delaying pre-production on Modern Warfare 3 and attempting to "hijack" Activision's assets.

According to the lawsuit filed by the company, West and Zampella "morphed from valued, responsible executives into insubordinate and self-serving schemers who attempted to hijack Activision's assets for their own personal gain."

The publisher accuses the two of "going on a secret trip by private jet to Northern California, arranged by their Hollywood agent, to meet with the most senior executives of Activision's closest competitor."

The competitor in question is almost certainly EA, however EA's director of corporate communications was unable to confirm the meeting, telling the LA Times: "We don't have the time to comment on the many lawsuits Activision files against its employees and creative partners."

"West and Zampella's misdeeds formed an unlawful pattern and practice of conduct that was designed to steal the [Infinity West] studio, which is one of Activision's most valuable assets - at the expense of Activision and its shareholders and for their own personal financial gain," continues the lawsuit.

It also states that West and Zampella refused to provide written consent for decisions relating to Modern Warfare 3, which delayed pre-production of the game.

"Prior to the termination of their employment with Activision, West and Zampella unreasonably and/or in bad faith refused to provide this consent in an effort to gain and unfair advantage in negotiations with Activision and in an improper attempt to gain advantage for themselves in connection with their plan to leave Activision and establish their own company."

As a result of the breaches, the publisher said it has been forced to commit additional resources to the game, as well as incur costs due to the litigation action.

"Activision has been damaged as a result of West and Zampella's actions in an amount to be proven at trial," it claims.

The two studio bosses, who were among the founding members of Infinity Ward, were sacked by parent company Activision in March, accused of contract breaches and insubordination.

The pair subsequently filed a lawsuit against the publisher seeking upwards of $36 million as well as creative control over all future Modern Warfare games.

They claimed they were owed "substantial royalty payments" as part of their contracts for Modern Warfare 2.

"We were shocked by Activision's decision to terminate our contract," West commented at the time the lawsuit was filed. "We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we've been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we've done speaks for itself."

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