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Activision Stiffed Them, Video Workers Say

(CN) - Video game developers who say they created Activision's franchise games "Call of Duty" and "Modern Warfare" say Activision stiffed them for nearly 2 years "of around the clock work" on "Modern Warfare 2." "This lawsuit is solely and regrettably the result of the astonishing arrogance and unbridled greed of defendant Activision," Jason West and Vince Zampella say in Los Angeles Superior Court.

West and Zampella say that "just weeks before [they] were to receive royalties for their hard work on 'Modern Warfare 2,' Activision fired them in the hope that by doing so, it could avoid paying them what they had rightfully earned."

They say that Activision intended to seize control of Infinity Ward studio, founded by West and Zampella and purchased by Activision in 2002, though "Activision had previously granted Infinity Ward creative control over all 'Modern Warfare' branded games." They say Activision did this though it had repeatedly assured West and Zampella "throughout the buyout and thereafter that Infinity Ward was to continue to operate independently."

West and Zampella say Activision hired attorney and began investigating them a few months after "Modern Warfare 2" was released in November 2009. The men say they were interrogated "for over six hours in a windowless conference room." The men say they were told that Activision was investigating potential "'breaches of contract' and 'violations' of Activision policies."

In late February, they say, Activision "summoned West and Zampella to a sham meeting" at its Santa Monica headquarters, "during which they were fired on the basis of false and trivial charges and then quickly escorted out the back door."

West and Zampella say Activision owe them royalties for the "Call of Duty" games, and that when they were fired on the pretext, they were working on another "Call of Duty" game, set in the post-Vietnam era.

Calls to Activision's headquarters were not returned. The plaintiffs' attorney, Robert Schwartz, was not available for comment.

West and Zampella want Activision enjoined from releasing any post-Vietnam era "Call of Duty" or "Modern Warfare" game, and compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract and wrongful termination.

They are represented by Robert Schwartz with O'Melveny and Myers.

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