Speaking of Activision, G4 has obtained a copy of a lawsuit filed yesterday morning by 38 Infinity Ward employees, who are suing the publisher over unpaid royalties. The plaintiffs are known collectively as the "Infinity Ward Employee Group", and they are allegedly owed $75-$125 million dollars. The lawsuit also states that Activision is purposely withholding the money from the remaining Infinity Ward employees to basically hold them hostage and force them to make Modern Warfare 3.
The actual monetary breakdown of the lawsuit is as follows:
- Unpaid bonuses from 2009 and 2010 sales generated by Modern Warfare 2 -- fourth quarter 2009 and first quarter 2010, specifically.
- Bonuses "due and owing to them" past first quarter 2010.
- "Bonus/royalty/profit participation" related to "technology/engine" royalties, "other special performance bonuses," "other studio bonuses" or "any other bonus/royalty/profit participation."'
- Lost value on "restricted stock units" that Activision "promised" would vest (read: own it in your own name and purchase it from Activision) when Modern Warfare 2 sales eclipsed Modern Warfare 1, which "has long ago occurred."
- Money owed as it relates to Modern Warfare 2 "sister games, including but not limited to" the oft-mentioned Modern Warfare 3, "if Modern Warfare 3 is ultimately delivered and marketed."
- Interest rates related to the above sums of money.
Activision responded to the lawsuit in a brief statement:
"Activision believes the action is without merit... Activision retains the discretion to determine the amount and the schedule of bonus payments for MW2 and has acted consistent with its rights and the law at all times. We look forward to getting judicial confirmation that our position is right."
No offense, Activision, but you always think that you're in the right no matter what side of a lawsuit you're on, and we already know that's not the case based on last year's Brutal Legend legal kerfuffle. Of course, I can't pretend to know everything going on at Infinity Ward and Activision, nor do I have a comprehensive grasp on California law that would allow me to speculate further. My un-legal opinion, though, is that this shit is messed up. This situation is getting worse and worse, and considering that some of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are still at Infinity Ward, I don't see this getting better anytime soon.
We'll be sure to keep you updated with at least another dozen stories about Activision and Infinity Ward today.