Back in April, a group of 38 former Infinity Ward employees filed a lawsuit against Activision over breach of contract and a dispute about unpaid millions in Modern Wardare 2 bonuses. Now, in a new addendum filed to the case, new allegations are made about Activision creating a hostile work environment tantamount to a “police state,” as well as detailing broken promises regarding royalty money.
The addendum to the lawsuit (which was acquired by Kotaku) claims that Activision subjected Infinity Ward employees to secret “interrogations” and stationed security guards at the office exits in the lead up to the firing of studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella back in March. It also claims that in March, Activision paid out 40 percent of the bonus money owed to Infinity Ward employees for Modern Warfare 2, but withheld an additional $54 million as “ransom” to coax the remaining Infinity Ward employees into making Modern Warfare 3 — the money was to only be paid to them once Modern Warfare 3 was completed and shipped by November 2011, the lawsuit claims.
These Infinity Ward employees evidently met with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick later in March, and the lawsuit claims Kotick promised to pay out the additional bonus money at the end of the month. That never happened, and the suit describes that when the group met with CFO Thomas Tippl in April to demand their bonus money, they were told to “get over it.”
The suit also insists that if West and Zampella were never fired, if the bonus money had been paid out in full, and if Activision had not created a “police state-like atmosphere,” the group of employees would have never resigned from Infinity Ward. The addendum is also lowering the amount the former Infinity Ward employees are seeking in punitive damages to $216 million, down from around $500 million initially sought.
West and Zampella also filed a separate wrongful termination lawsuit against Activision back in March, in which they’re also seeking additional compensation they claim they’re still owed as well as the rights to the Modern Warfare brand. A hearing is set for August 5 to decide whether both lawsuits should be consolidated, and a date for the Infinity Ward employees’ lawsuit is set for May 23 next year.