The news for Jason West and Vince Zampella, formerly of Infinity Ward (now at the new studio Respawn Entertainment) was perhaps what they expected. The motion by Electronic Arts to dismiss the case was denied.
The judge decided today that there was enough evidence for the case to press on toward trial. It is expected that the actual trial will start in about May of this year, but legal experts following the case believe that there are at least several more rounds of legal maneuvering prior to the case actually going to trial.
Perhaps one bright spot was that Judge Elihu Berle dismissed one of the four claims in the suit: the claim that alleged EA met with West and Zampella and their agents while they were still employed with Activision, which was a breach of their Activision employment contracts. West and Zampella allege that Activision terminated them both to avoid paying $36 million in royalties owed to them for Modern Warfare 2. Activision redistributed at least part of those royalties to the remaining employees at Infinity Ward in an effort to keep them from jumping ship. Still, a number of employees left Infinity Ward to follow West and Zampella to Respawn.
As for Respawn itself, little is known about what they might be working on. While some rumors had indicated that we would know something by now, so far nothing has actually emerged from the new studio. The latest whispers suggest that the studio will announce what they are working on at E3 this year; but so far, West and Zampella have not confirmed this publicly.
In January, West and Zampella accused Activision of attempting to drag out the court proceedings in an effort to exceed the salary payments that the pair was getting from Respawn. Legal experts that we have spoken with tell us that even if West and Zampella are able to win their case against Activision, it will likely be years before they are able to collect even part of what they are owed. In the meantime, the legal costs for the pair continue to mount.
Published in Games
West & Zampella case will move forward
by David Stellmack on17 March 2011
Judge rules enough evidence to go to trial