No Fireworks: Activision Infinity Ward Lawsuit Settled

By Nathan Grayson on June 1st, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

The sounds that gun is making are not bangs. No, they are whimpers.
Apologies, lovers of metal-mangling, flesh-rending trainwrecks. I’ve got some bad news for you. The no-holds-barred modern battlewarfront of words between Activision and former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella – which has been brewing since 2010 – won’t be going to court. After the lawsuit reached a fever pitch of $1 billion in demands, Polygon‘s reporting that the two sides have opted to settle.

“We have reached a settlement in this matter as to all parties and all claims,” said an attorney representing West and Zampella. “Dismissals will be filed soon.”

Apparently, the plan is to keep all terms of the settlement completely confidential. That leaves us dangling on the precipice of a real nail-biter, too. Did the two absurdly successful industry men get their respective ancient Aztec cities made of gold? Will they be able to barely scrape by and provide for the next 347 generations of their families? It’s tear-jerking stuff. I think we can all identify.

A press release from Activision, however, notes that the settlement will ”not have a material impact” on the publishing titan’s bottom line, so my financial adviser says “signs point to no” in regards to any hush-hush $1 billion payments. (Yes, my financial adviser is a Magic Eight Ball. No, you shut up.) Apparently, however, Jason West was sighted smiling in the courtroom as the news was announced, so I can’t imagine things ended too terribly for him and his fellow ex-Infinity-Warders.

This all comes after another recent settlement between Activision and EA over the alleged contract-breaching business dealings between EA and the ex-Infinity Ward leads. Pertinent documents also led to the discovery of an Activision-helmed borderline-conspiracy to dig up dirt on West and Zampella known as “Project Icebreaker.” So basically, the rollercoaster had reached the nauseating peak of insanity, and it was about to take a plunge into the legal system’s maddest depths.

Now, though, it’s come to a screeching halt. Both parties approved of the dismissal and have agreed to never speak of this again. So, I guess that’s that. Now Respawn Entertainment can go back to releasing blurry, meaningless screenshots of its mystery game. Thank goodness.

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20 Comments »

  1. MythArcana says:

    Now everyone is happy. Nothing to see here, folks.

  2. djbriandamage says:

    I’m very happy for West, Zampella, and the Infinity Ward 40. They’re an unbelievably talented team that made ridiculous sums of money for Activision. Their hard work deserves recognition and compensation.

    It’s this team, and not the Call of Duty name, that I’m faithful to. It’s ridiculous how much time I spend playing their games, and I’m only into the single player portions. They’re masters of their craft.

  3. Hirmetrium says:

    I’m gutted. I wanted to see this reach the courtroom so badly, and Activision get struck down for their bastard practices.

    Also, because of error 37.

  4. Jimbo says:

    West broke the Non-Smiling Agreement and now has to go Game Jail, from which he will promptly escape and recover all of his belongings in the next room.

  5. Kollega says:

    No fireworks?! Man, why did they just have to go and ruin our fun like that?

    On the other hand, lawyers are not going to be paid for the full case now, just the first few slander exchanges. So there is some good in the situation.

  6. Dances to Podcasts says:

    You know how the BBC does those great documentaries with former heads of state talking about historic events? They should one on this in a decade or so.

  7. Ironclad says:

    I’m seeing a trend where lawsuits don’t end in epic court cases. It’s as if humanity is discovering new ways of cooperating and tolerating each other.

    I am disappointed in this development.

  8. Stormwaltz says:

    I have to admit I’m disappointed. I wanted to see Bobby Kotick nailed to the wall for his unethical business practices.

  9. Archangel says:

    Both parties are so cretinous and detestable that I found myself rooting for the lawyers.

  10. Kadayi says:

    Kind of disappointing that it didn’t goto trial simply because it would of shone an uncomfortable spotlight on the dubious antics of Bobby ‘IP killer’ Kotick and Activision. Worth checking out their financial predictions for this quarter: -

    http://investor.activision.com/reports.cfm

    2012 Q1 10-Q

    11. Commitments and contingencies

    “The Company has accrued and will continue to accrue appropriate amounts related to bonuses and other monies allegedly owed in connection with this matter. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation, particularly with respect to matters tried before juries, other potential outcomes are reasonably possible, including outcomes which are above the amount of the accrual. In light of the plaintiff’s claims, which exceed $1 billion, although the Company does not believe such a result would be justified, there is a range of reasonably possible outcomes that could have a material impact on the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operation or liquidity in an interim period as well as in the full reporting year in which the lawsuit is ultimately resolved or in which an increase in the accrual occurs.”

    Essentially they were setting aside the money in case things went totally tits up, but their accountants view was that even if horror of horrors the liability was $1 billion (cue pinky finger) it wouldn’t have a negative impact on the companies operation.

    The extent of payouts Activision have made will undoubtedly come to light in the next quarterly report, though I expect their financial team will attempt to obfuscate them in some manner to spare Bobby’s K blushes. Should be interesting to see if when the facts do come out whether he still holds his job given the company wouldn’t of been paying out anything like that if he hadn’t gone all Colonel Kurtz on West and Zampella in the first place.

  11. drewski says:

    Probably would have been cheaper for Activision to just fire them and pay them whatever they were owed. Trying to screw them as well is bad management – they were never going to just walk away from $100m+.

  12. Burning Man says:

    This is terribly disappointing. It was just starting to look messy and horrible too.

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