Though it is still a ways off, former Infinity Ward members Jason West and Vincent Zampella have finally had a court date set for their high profile case against Activision. Stemming from West and Zampella’s belief they were cheated out of royalties owed from Modern Warfare 2 sales, this court case could potentially decide the fate of the very lucrative Call of Duty franchise.
The court date is set for May 7, 2012 (if the case goes that far), almost two years after the developers left Infinity Ward. Since then it’s been an uphill battle for West and Zampella with Activision filing a countersuit against them and Electronic Arts — whom they believe the two were cavorting with while still employed by Activision — but it should all come to head in the middle of next year.
While analyst Michael Pachter has said that West and Zampella have no chance of reacquiring the popular FPS series’ namesake, they are still going to do their best to try. More likely Activision and the two will come to some sort of settlement and this will all be a thing of the past.
Activision will move on to churning out more yearly Call of Duty titles (next up should be Black Ops developer Treyarch) and West and Zampella will continue work on their only briefly teased title with Respawn Entertainment.
There’s a lot riding on Respawn’s first effort, especially since it is being published by key Activision rival Electronic Arts, but gamers should have full faith that the individuals who revolutionized the FPS genre twice should be able to put out a stellar product.
And let us not forget that Infinity Ward is putting out their first Call of Duty title, Modern Warfare 3, sans West and Zampella. If, as predicted, the title breaks a slew of records it will just go to show the importance of a brand name over a developer.
What do you think will come of this high profile case between West, Zampella, and Activision? If the Call of Duty series were to change hands would it affect sales or the appeal of the franchise?