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Activision Blizzard settles lawsuits with Electronic Arts, Call of Duty creators Zampella and West go to trial May 29

The ongoing feud between Jason West and Vincent Zampella, former heads of Call of Duty creators Infinity Ward, and Activision Blizzard has entered a new phase. More than two years after the two left Activision and Infinity Ward to form a new studio called Respawn, multiple lawsuits filed by both parties have now been settled out of court. Now at least the pair’s current publishing partner, Electronic Arts, is unfettered by an Activision lawsuit.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that EA and Activision had come to a mutual agreement. A joint statement issued by the publishers said, “Activision and EA have agreed to put this matter behind them.”

West and Zampella were fired from Infinity Ward in 2010 after reportedly meeting with Electronic Arts to discuss developing a title for the company. The two then sued Activision Blizzard, seeking $36 million in damages and owed royalty payments on the then recently released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Activision in turn sued Electronic Arts, seeking $400 million in actual and punitive damages for poaching the employees responsible for the company’s most profitable series. That suit has been settled less than two weeks before Zampella and West will go up against Activision in court on May 29.

It was announced in June 2011 that West and Zampella would have their day in court after a California Superior Court judge ruled that their case against Activision was strong enough to be brought before a jury.

Meanwhile, a number of other former and current Infinity Ward employees banded together as the Infinity Ward Employee Group and filed their own lawsuit against Activision seeking owed royalties from Modern Warfare 2.

It was that lawsuit that hinted earlier this week that Activision was ready to admit partial defeat. The company paid $42 million in owed royalties to the Infinity Ward Employee Group. It was a mere fraction of the $75 to $125 million the group’s lawyer Bruce Isaacs claims it’s owed, but it was progress all the same. Isaacs believes that Activision made the payment in a “cynical attempt to look good” before having to go to trial against Zampella and West as well as the Infinity Ward Employee Group. Apparently Activision didn’t feel wholly confident even then considering it has moved to settle things with EA as well.

While Zampella and West will reportedly be in attendance at E3 in June, they will not be debuting EA and Respawn’s first collaboration at the event.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared on Digital Trends earlier today claiming that Activision Blizzard had settled with West and Zampella as well as Electronic Arts. That text has been corrected here. 


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