Email Suggests Infinity Ward Delayed MW2 Content for EA’s Benefit
An unsealed document in the law suit between Activision and former members of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward suggests the developer purposely delayed the release of a MW2 map pack to benefit Activision’s biggest rival, according to lawyers for the company.
The document was released as part of a court filing in the $400 million suit between Vince Zampella and Jason West, founders of Infinity Ward and formerly part of the Call of Duty team, and Activision. Activision is suing the pair, along with Electronic Arts, for breaking their employment contracts and allegedly sabotaging MW2; Zampella and West are counter-suing Activision for wrongful termination.
Through document discovery, a portion of the legal procedure where defendants and plaintiffs can petition evidence for their cases, Activision entered an internal EA email that they claim suggests the rival developer was working all along to “corrupt and destroy” Infinity Ward. The email from specifically says, Activision claims, that EA convinced Zampella and West to hold back on MW2′s Stimulus Pack extra content release so it wouldn’t conflict with EA’s release of DICE’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The email is dated March 2, the day of Bad Company’s release. The Stimulus Pack was released 28 days later.
Here’s the email, from Lincoln Hershberger, senior director of global marketing for DICE, to several EA execs:
A couple months ago, I asked Vince to hold back their map pack until after we launched. (He owes me one). Given that they’ve already made a billion, he was cool with that, obviously [Activision CEO Robert] Kotick took it as being belligerent.
Filings with the Los Angeles County Circuit Court show the suit has been amended to add EA as a defendant, and Activision has claimed that other emails show that EA was trying to recruit Zampella and West to leave the company.
EA spokesman Jeff Brown told Kotaku the email was obviously a joke.
‘This was obviously sarcasm,’ he said. ‘It’s clear from the email this was a joke and they never spoke. We explained this to lawyers at Activision – who apparently don’t have much of a sense of humor.’