Activision Blizzard, the parent company of game studios Activision and Blizzard, has asked a Californian court to add Electronic Arts (EA) to a lawsuit it is taking against the creators of its Call of Duty games.
Activision is seeking $400 million in damages for alleged interference with the contracts Activision had with game developers Jason West and Vince Zampella, the guys behind Infinity Ward, one of Activision’s game studios that created Call of Duty and other profitable titles.
The men were sacked from Activision and they then created an EA subsidiary called Respawn Entertainment. Many of the ex-Infinity Ward staff, including both co-founders, sued Activision for unpaid royalties and bonuses earlier this year, but Activision counter-sued, claiming that West and Zampella were attempting to steal the valuable Infinity Ward studio assets.
The latest move marks another twist in the bitter battle between Activison and EA, with both companies revealing their hatred of each other in public statements, reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Activision claimed that EA’s hiring of the two men is a “desperate” move of a studio that has seen a “preciptous decline in stature with investors and … game players.” It is effectively accusing EA of poaching its top staff by bringing them into top-secret negotiations.
An EA spokesperson, Jeff Brown, said that the lawsuit was “PR play” and that it was filled with “pettiness and deliberate misdirection.” He said that, by involving EA, Activision was attempting to cover up the fact that it inappropriately fired staff without giving them owed payments.