Activision goes after EA for 'conspiracy'

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Activision's broadening its lawsuit against two game developers who developed Call of Duty, adding Electronic Arts to its list of targets.

The initial lawsuit, filed earlier this year against Jason West and Vince Zampella, was filed in response to a lawsuit from the two developers alleging that they'd been wrongfully fired from the Infinity Ward studio and that they were due millions of dollars in royalties from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

In April, the two announced that they were forming a new studio, Respawn Entertainment, and had signed a deal with EA to publish its games. They hired several staff away from Infinity Ward in the process.

Activision responded by suing the pair for breach of contract after they began work on a game that Electronic Arts had been going to publish.

The new filing accuses Electronic Arts of interfering with the employment contracts of the two developers in an attempt to sabotage Call of Duty. It says EA attempted to "derail Activision's Call of Duty franchise, disrupt its Infinity Ward development studio and inflict serious harm on the company".

Working through talent management agency Creative Artists Agency, it says, EA worked to poach the two developers away from Infinity Ward as early as July 2009.

They then, it says, "conspired to set up an independent company staffed by key Acticision employees, including designers, programmers, artists and others from Infinity Ward's development studio, thus draining the studio of talent and potentially delaying future Call of Duty games".

Activision's asking for a whopping $400 million in compensation.