Report: Infinity Ward Founders Settle With Activision
The founders of Infinity Ward and Activision have reached an out-of-court settlement over bonus payments for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
According to tweets from LA Times reporter Ben Fritz, the case has been dismissed and all claims between Jason West and Adam Zampella, the founders of Infinity Ward who were suing (and sued by) Activision, have been dropped. Reportedly, the terms of the settlement are being kept “strictly confidential.”
The claims against Activision made by 40 other Infinity Ward developers have also been dropped.
As Fritz reports, we don’t know the terms of the settlement or the amount of money that has changed hands between the two parties, although presumably Activision paid the developers, as the original lawsuit was over bonuses promised for the development of Modern Warfare 2 (as well as awful working conditions during the process). If the settlement was large enough, Activision would have to disclose the amount, although it could be structured in such a way as to get around the disclosure requirement.
If I had to guess — and I’m about to — I’d say that we’ll never know the terms of the settlement, and we’ll probably never find out how much West, Zampella and the rest of the developers got from Activision. Court documents released to the public recently have been painting a picture of Activision that’s not flattering — testimony from a former information technology director even alleged that Activision higher-ups had asked him to break into email and cell phones of the Infinity Ward devs in order to “dig up dirt” on them. Activision was starting to look very, very bad in this case.
It doesn’t seem coincidental that a settlement has come less than a week later to keep the whole situation out of court. To me, it looks like a face-saving maneuver. Confidentiality keeps Activision from having to admit, or even be subjected to the perception of, any culpability. So I doubt any more information will be forthcoming.