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Activision sues Electronic Arts, seeks $400 million over Infinity Ward [Updated]

December 21, 2010 |  8:41 pm

Vincent Zampella and Jason West The corporate warfare between Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts is getting hotter than a hand grenade.

Activision on Tuesday pulled EA into a lawsuit it had filed in April against two prominent game developers that Activision had fired in March. The developers, Jason West and Vincent Zampella, had created Activision's blockbuster Call of Duty franchise as heads of Infinity Ward, a studio Activision bought in 2003.

In the amended lawsuit, Activision names EA as a defendant, accusing the Redwood City, Calif., publisher of hatching a secret plot to "destabilize, disrupt and ... destroy Infinity Ward." The lawsuit accused EA of working through talent management firm Creative Artists Agency to "hijack" West and Zampella from Infinity Ward, based in Encino.

EA spokesman, Jeff Brown, in an email sent Tuesday night, said, "This is a PR play filled with pettiness and deliberate misdirection. Activision wants to hide the fact that they have no credible response to the claim of two artists who were fired and now just want to get paid for their work."

Activision sued West and Zampella for breach of contract a month after it fired them. The two later formed Respawn Entertainment and began work on a game that Electronic Arts agreed to publish. They also filed a lawsuit against Activision, alleging that their former employer had improperly withheld from them millions of dollars in royalty payments from their last game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

In its amended complaint, Activision sought $400 million in damages and penalties from EA, West and Zampella.

A call to Activision was not immediately returned Tuesday night.

Updated, 10:18 pm: This post was updated to include a response from Electronic Arts.

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Vincent Zampella (left) and Jason West. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

Related:

Heads of Call of Duty studio exit in surprise shake-up

Fired Call of Duty developers sue Activision for more than $36 million

Fired Call of Duty developers sign with CAA

Activision loses Call of Duty lead game designer, lead software engineer

Call of Duty Black Ops: Will it measure up?

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