Jason West and Vince Zampella, the former co-founders of Infinity Ward who spearheaded Call of Duty's global dominance, have since left former stable Activision - a not-so-amicable parting - and have set up shop at EA Games as Respawn Entertainment, where they're now hard at work assembling a team and charging forward with development of their first title under a new name and publisher.
It'll be an FPS, certainly. And I wouldn't be surprised if Respawn had the testicular fortitude to tackle Call of Duty's 'Modern Warfare' setting, either. We won't know for a while, though, but Respawn have dropped an image from their much-anticipated title; albeit with a thick coating of vaseline to blur all the pertinent details. We'll leave you to dissect this, Dealspwners! [Respawn Entertainment]
The high-profile lawsuit levied by ex-Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella against Activision has now stepped up a gear with the confirmation of the first court date. The case will begin on Monday, May 7, 2012 - and is likely to be a knock-down, drag-out brawl over allegations of unpaid Modern Warfare 2 royalties. Activision will almost certainly counter by attempting to prove that the duo breached their contracts by leaking confidential informaton to EA and meeting secretly with the rival publisher. Whether they will be able to successfully distance themselves from allegations of "unbridled greed" is another matter entirely.
I can surmise and allege - but sadly not officially print - all sorts of things from the state of play thus far. Naturally we'll keep you posted as we hear more as well as exploring the position of both sides. Be sure to mug up on our comprehensive fact sheet that summed up the pertinent details at the time - and let us know your take on the situation in the comments!
It'll be quite a while yet until EA finally unveil what former Infinity Ward and Call of Duty creators, Vince Zampella and Jason West, are actually working on over at upstart studio, Respawn. They might have extracted a fair share of their former stable's employee count, but they're still in the midst of hiring and structuring the studio itself. However, their new publisher, EA, has today revealed their new title isn't a modern military shooter or Call of Duty clone.Click here for details
The ongoing legal feud between former Infinity Ward heads', Jason West and Vince Zampella, and their former employers, Activision, continues to develop, as the pair seek to void their original contract with the publishing giant. Citing production of Modern Warfare proceeding without their consent, if West and Zampella were to win the case, it would force Activision to share custody of the franchise with the now EA-bound duo.Hit the jump for more
Only yesterday, we were moaning that we hadn't heard anything from the ongoing lawsuit between Activision and the disgruntled ex-Infinity Ward creatives West and Zampella. However, the full shocking details of Activision's countersuit against EA and the ex-Infinity Ward developers have now emerged. The brief alleges that "emboldened by their secret alliance with Electronic Arts, [West and Zampella] refused to adhere to even the minimal standards of behavior required of any employee or executive." Specifically, they reportedly refused to work with Treyarch and instigated a rivalry between the two studios (which may have just been some friendly competition).
Here's where things really start to get interesting. Activision also accuses West and Zampella of withholding the names of Infinity Ward employees who were due bonuses in order to make them more likely to defect! To avoid any confusion, here's the allegation in full.
In order to make it unlikely that these employees of Activision's Infinity Ward studio would remain with Activision, West and Zampella attempted to block those employees from receiving significant equity grants and/or other compensation, suggesting instead that Activision provide the additional compensation to West and Zampella alone, not to the many valued employees to whom Activision was offering this extra compensation.
Yikes, we're not touching that one. We'd love to get your take on it though! [CVG]
EA, the co-defendant, has responded to the claims; calling them "petty" and a "deliberate misdirection." [CVG]
As always, these are one-sided allegations that need to be digested with a little context and a huge scoop of salt. Looking back through the available evidence and arguments, it does seem possible that West & Zampella were in breach of contract... which still didn't give Activision the right to impose untold misery and withhold bonuses from their hardworking studio. Discuss.
Hurrah! After bemoaning the delays that pushed LittleBigPlanet 2 back into 2011, we've finally got a date for your calendars. Media Molecule's latest edit-em-up will be hitting the shelves on the 21st of January. A story mode will also be going live on PSN tomorrow that will let us try out a few of Sackboy's nifty new gadgets. [PS Blog]
Why not check out our developer walkthrough?
The Wii needs more Zelda. We need more Zelda. The long-awaited Zelda: Skyward Sword was finally unveiled during Nintendo's presser at this year's E3 and slated for an "early 2011" release... but the latest reports suggest that might be a little optimistic.
In an interview with Pocket-Lint, Ninty Guru Shigeru Miyamoto states that Skyward Sword is "over half complete"... which unfortunately means that there's a lot more to do when translated it into devspeak. A playable demo build is up and running- but we reckon that Nintendo will have their work cut out to deliver by "early 2011" - but to be honest, we'll wait as long as we have to.
Apparently Skyward Sword will feature "dense" gameplay with plenty of new mechanics and a storybook graphical style. In the meantime, Matt's super-detailed super-awesome preview should help whet your appetite.
The Japanese Market has always been traditionally dominated by Nintendo, but it's great to see the Sony PSP get a solid and sustained foothold in the land of the rising sun (not unlike a tiny Godzilla). According to VG247 and VGChartz, the Sony handheld is currently leading in terms of hardware sales thanks to the release of God Eater, Kingdom Hearts and Monster Hunter- and is currently shifting more units than the Wii. Note, however, that the different models of DS count as separate consoles.
[Don't take our word for it. See the full list at VG247]
It's also interesting to see that DSi XL is selling like hot cakes... or cold sushi? It'll be interesting to see how the incremental upgrade fares on British shores.
Wow, I bet you're getting bored of the constant coverage everyone's giving to the developing Jason West vs Activison snafu. However, I also know that we all love a bit of scandal, so here's the latest news on the lawsuit that the two ousted devs are bringing to bear on Kotick's unpopular publishing behemoth. The entire court document is free to view at IGN, by the way. [via Gamesindustry.biz]
Lawsuit accuses Activison of "Arrogance and Greed"
In no uncertain terms, the legal document accuses Activion of "astonishing arrogance and unbridled greed". Strong words, but they're echoed by millions of gamers worldwide.
Note that the document also sheds new light on the nature of the alleged "Insubordination" carried out by the pair. Apparently,
"Activision forced Infinity Ward's employees to continue producing the games at a breakneck pace under aggressive schedules, and West and Zampella were concerned that Activision was emphasising quantity over quality.
West and Zampella were not eager to extend their employment; especially as they watched their games make Activision billions of dollars, while many Infinity Ward employees were not being provided a fair share."
There are two sides to every story, but it's interesting to see that the two developers may have criticised Activision's aggressive sequel milking policies- and been crushed accordingly.
West and Zampella may retain Power to veto
This is a big one. The terms of the lawsuit may, if successful, grant West and Zampella creative control over the Modern Warfare franchise- even though they won't be employed by Activison! Videogame legal expert Jas Purewal explains:
"This is potentially explosive: West and Zampella are arguing they have contractual creative control over the Modern Warfare brand.
The short-term prognosis at this very early stage does not look good... unless [they] can get rid of the lawsuit quickly, Activision faces lingering legal doubt as to whether West and Zampella retain creative control over Modern Warfare. And, worst of all, this will mean the industry watching very carefully what it does next and how it relates with developers in the future."
It may even be possible for West and Zampella to secure an injunction against Activision, essentially tying up future MW development until this is sorted out. Activision's legal team will need to work quickly to avoid massive investor panic.
What are your thoughts on the West/Zampella vs Activision situation? Is it fair? Do you care? Have your say in the comments!
Server culls are an unfortunate part of life. It's sad when they happen, but sooner or later every game loses its online support. Usually it's preceded by a simple warning and inglorious deactivation- so it's fantastic to see a developer and publisher reward their veteran fanbase for their faithful service before the big switch off.
Bungie are rewarding the few stalwart players who've invested years of online play into Halo 2 (Microsoft's first true Xbox Live breakout success) with a cavalcade of goodies. They'll each receive 3 free months of Xbox Live gold, 400 Microsoft points and a free Halo Reach Beta Key. No Recon, but hey, I'd take roughly £20 worth of goodies any day. Before you ask, the 'faithful' have already been informed via email- if you don't already know, you're not one of them.
We <3 Bungie. And Bungie <3 us. Which makes us all very happy indeed. [via Kotaku]
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella are bringing legal action against Activision for unlawful termination and unpaid royalties. Not only that, but they're also vying for the contractual rights to the Modern Warfare brand; which could make their future company a lot of money (especially if Infinity Ward employees jump ship when their contract expires...).
Unpaid Royalties? Now that's interesting. We recently informed you that Infinity Ward hasn't received a penny of the substantial residuals generated by the billion dollar franchise, and the spectacular ousting of the leadership couldn't have come at a more suspicious time.
"Instead of thanking, lauding, or just plain paying Jason and Vince for giving Activision the most successful entertainment product ever offered to the public. Last month Activision hired lawyers to conduct a pretextual 'investigation' into unstated and unsubstantiated charges of 'insubordination' and 'breach of fiduciary duty,' which then became the grounds for their termination."- Robert Schwartz, Attorney
Hopefully these lawsuits will shed more light into the alleged "insubordination" committed by West and Zampella. We're all dying to know what they did... if anything.
Ubisoft's deeply unpopular online DRM has become a target for disenfranchised PC gamers and pirates (who claim to have hacked it within 24 hours). In an effort to both improve their public image and beef up security, Ubi has released a patch that allows disconnected players to continue from the exact place they left off rather than forcing them to return to a previous checkpoint. It also doubtlessly contains a few security upgrades.
This is a step in the right direction- but it's simply too little too late to sway the hearts and minds of the gaming public. Ubisoft have already alienated a huge proportion of their PC consumers and are going to have to seriously reconsider their DLC options to win them back. [Ubisoft]
A new Portal Patch has changed the final cutscene to bring it in line with the latest rumours. We won't give the game away, but if you don't own the PC version of Portal (or are too lazy to play Valve's masterpiece through again), then here it is. [Steam Forums]
Borderlands was recently graced with The Secret Armory of General Knoxx; a fantastic piece of DLC that expanded and improved the game experience across the board (though it did suffer from serious difficulty issues). Most gamers assumed that this would be Borderlands' swan song, but this simply isn't the case. In the latest Take Two financial earnings call, CEO Ben Feder stated:
"We will continue to support the title with more add-on content."
Groovy. As an avid Borderlands junkie, I'm delighted that my online shooter of choice is going to be supported for the foreseeable future. However, I hope that Gearbox will be free to continue with the frankly excellent-looking Alien: Colonial Marines now that Rebellion's AvP sales have been verified! [Kotaku]
Game Buzz is a new weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday evening we’ll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart’s delight. We interrupt this week's usual schedule to bring you a Game Buzz Special!
Yesterday was a great day to be a games journalist. Activision's sensational firing of key Infinity Ward personnel took us on a breathtaking rollercoaster ride of scandal, thrills, chills and spills that simply doesn't happen very often in the industry. Journalists and pundits scurried over each other to bring us an orgy of breaking news, rumours and the occasional blatant falsehood in rush for fresh, tasty content. However, everything's calmed down a bit now, so here's the result of that exciting Infinity Ward Snafu now that the dust has settled...
What we know: