Simmering tensions between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developers Infinity Ward and publishers Activision have exploded into a fully-fledged fight, with the lawyers representing studio bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella filing a lawsuit against the games giant.
The first sign of trouble was when G4 reported that a group of burly security guards were lurking outside of the Infinity Ward offices, and that the studio heads had gone AWOL following a meeting with their bosses at Activision that morning. Eyebrows were raised further when Kotaku unearthed a Facebook status update from Jason West saying "Drinking. Also, no longer employed".
Activision refused to make any firm statements about the future of the studio, and now a lawsuit has been filed against the mammoth games company, whose head Bobby Kotick stated back in September that his goal was to promote a culture of "scepticism, pessimism, and fear" in his employees. He certainly seems to be achieving that aim.
In a press release, lawyers for West and Zampella said: "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 on Monday, March 1st".
Following the success of Modern Warfare and its more recent follow-up, Modern Warfare 2, West and Zampella should be golden boys at the company. It's not entirely clear why that's not the case here - did Activision get too pushy, or did West and Zampella - drunk with power - demand too much from their publisher? Time will no doubt tell as the case makes its way through the courts.