The story of Modern Warfare 2 has been one of success and fortunes. Critics loved it, and consumers lapped it up. The shooter launched late last year, and became the biggest entertainment launch in history, across all forms of entertainment. Publisher Activision sat back as the profits rolled in.
Now, however, things have taken a sour turn. Over the last two months, Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward has leaked around 26 employees, with many joining a new start-up headed by two former Infinity Ward bigwigs. Suddenly, those mass departures are making more sense.
Earlier today, the “Infinity Ward Employee Group” (IWEG) filed a lawsuit against Activision. They’re alleging that contracts between Activision and Infinity Ward were breached and bonuses have gone unpaid. IWEG wants blood. Or probably just a crapload of unpaid royalties. One of IWEG’s attorneys explained the employees’ side to G4:
“Activision owes my clients approximately $75 million to $125 million dollars. Activision has withheld most of the money to force many of my people to stay, some against their will, so that they would finish the delivery of Modern Warfare 3. That is not what they wanted to do. Many of them. My clients’ are entitled to their money. Activision has no right to withhold their money — our money.”
Anyway, Activision has since issued a response to the lawsuit, suggesting that shit is about to get real:
“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.”
So they’re fighting it. This is going to be messy.