Call of Duty publisher Activision has dismissed as "meritless" the lawsuit bought against it by two founders of Infinity Ward over unpaid royalties and the right to creative control of the Modern Warfare brand.
According to a report by the LA Times, Vince Zampella and Jason West are seeking upwards of $36 million, the right to creative control over all Modern Warfare games and that Activision may not release any Call of Duty titles set after the Vietnam war without their approval.
"Activision is disappointed that Mr Zampella and Mr West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless," said the publisher in a statement to the press.
"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 honour 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."
Activision acquired Infinity Ward in 2003 for $5 million, and after the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Zampella and West signing an extension on their contracts to 2011. At the beginning of February Activision began an investigation into the pair for "breaches of contract and insubordination" and sacked both employees earlier this week.
The demands for creative control on the best-selling war franchise could cause delays to products, with English lawyer and litigation specialist Jas Purwal suggesting today that the ex-employees could potentially veto the release of downloadable content and future Modern Warfare games.
Infinity Ward isn't the only studio working on the Call of Duty brand – Treyarch has worked on games set during World War II and is rumoured to be working on a Vietnam-based game for release this year, while newly formed outfit Sledgehammer Games is putting an action-adventure spin on the series.