As you all know, Activision and Electronic Arts aren’t exactly on speaking terms. Activision and former Infinity Ward main men Jason West and Vince Zampella aren’t on speaking terms either. West and Zampella were responsible for making the Modern Warfare series a household name. They were fired by Activision due to alleged insubordination. They then went to work for EA and that’s when things got even messier.
Activision accused EA of poaching West and Zampella – this was due to go to court but has since been resolved. Activision and EA are settling out of court, with the only official wording on the matter saying “Activision and EA have agreed to put this matter behind them”.
As for Activision versus West and Zampella, that bout of litigation continues. West and Zampella are seeking unpaid bonuses and royalties amounting to millions of dollars. Activision is saying that West and Zampella breached their contract and as such are not entitled to anything. Documents have since surfaced that implicate Activision in instigating an illegal hacking attempt into West and Zampella’s PCs so as to “dig up dirt”.
According to the LA Times newspaper, Activision asked a man called Thomas Fenady to hack into West and Zampella’s email accounts, voicemails and files so as to uncover any evidence that would give the publisher grounds for terminating West and Zampella’s contracts. The move even had a code name called “Project Icebreaker” and was allegedly an instruction that “came from the highest levels of the company”.
Fenady refused to do it, and has since testified, which has resulted in these documents being added to the Activision versus West/Zampella case; that case is scheduled to proceed on 29 May. Activision has refused to comment on “Project Icebreaker”.
Meanwhile, the recent out of court settlement between EA and Activision has given West and Zampella’s lawyer (Bobby Schwartz) a boost in confidence:
“We are delighted. This makes our case against Activision even clearer. Activision dragged EA into the case hoping to distract from Activision’s wretched conduct towards West and Zampella. In dismissing EA today, Activision admits that it was never going to convince anyone that EA conspired with West and Zampella to breach their contracts or did anything else improper. And now Activision will have to answer for its misconduct towards West and Zampella.”