Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The big "he said, the monolithic corporation said" video games kerfuffle of 2010, the fallout from Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella leaving Activision then signing up with Electronic Arts, is indeed going to trial. On Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge denied EA's motion for summary judgement on the complex lawsuit, as well as one from West and Zampella, meaning the big Call of Duty mess will go before a jury next year.

West and Zampella were fired by Activision in March 2010, and quickly sued the publisher for unpaid royalties and control over the Modern Warfare brand, created at Infinity Ward. Activision counter-sued in April, saying the pair attempted to undermine IW so it could poach employees for a new studio, and had been in clandestine meetings with a competitor.

A few days later, West and Zampella announced the formation of new studio Respawn Entertainment in April, signing an exclusive publishing arrangement with EA. Forty-odd Infinity Ward members eventually follow West and Zampella to Respawn. A number of people who worked at IW on Call of Duty also sued Activision for up to $125 million in unpaid royalties.

Activision later added EA to its counter-suit, claiming that it had conspired with West and Zampella, and seeking $400 million in damages for contract interference.

With the summary judgement motions from EA and the duo denied, the case will go before a jury on May 7, 2012.

In a statement provided to USA Today, West and Zampella's attorney said, "We are eager to get to trial on May 7 to prove Jason and Vince's case against Activision for firing them without cause and denying them the money they earned. Activision's claims against EA are a smoke screen, seeking to distract attention from Activision's atrocious behavior to Jason, Vince, and the rest of the Infinity Ward team."

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

For the first time in franchise history, two games under the Call of Duty banner--Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2--will be simultaneously allowing players to earn double the normal experience points this weekend. It's being billed as a celebration of the upcoming Modern Warfare 3's Prestige Shop, but it's safe to say that publisher Activision wouldn't be too upset if the move steals some thunder from a certain other rival war-based FPS that launched today.

In a video on the Modern Warfare 3 Facebook page, Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling explains that every time you prestige in MW3, you'll get a "prestige token" which can be used to unlock things like an extra custom class, or allow you to "choose one piece of gear from your custom class to keep unlocked from rank 1 of future prestiges."

As a side bonus--and one that ties directly into the coming double XP weekend--anyone who has prestiged in Modern Warfare, World at War, Modern Warfare 2, or Black Ops will receive associated day-one prestige tokens to spend in Modern Warfare 3 on launch day.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is due out for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on November 8.

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

A court date for Jason West and Vincent Zampella's claim against publisher Activision back in 2010 has finally been set. On May 7, 2012, proceedings will begin to determine whether or not Activision owes the Infinity Ward co-founders significant funds resulting from the sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. In the suit, West and Zampella allege fraud on Activision's part, and that their former employer owes them somewhere in the neighborhood of $125 million in royalties.

Activision fired the duo back in 2010 (shortly after Modern Warfare 2's release), because it claims West and Zampella were in discussions with rival publisher, Electronic Arts.

Activision then launched a $400 million counter-suit against Zampella, West, and Electronic Arts, claiming that EA had colluded with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to poach the developers from the Activision-owned studio, Infinity Ward.

"I'm really looking forward to having our day in court," Zampella said of the announcement in a recent interview with Forbes magazine.

West and Zampella have since formed a new studio--Respawn Entertainment--and have already signed a deal to work with Electronic Arts.

Infinity Ward was established in 2002 by Vince Zampella, Jason West, and Grant Collier.

[via The Escapist]

Shacknews - Xav de Matos

During its investor relations call, Activision Blizzard reiterated that Call of Duty continues to set new benchmarks for sales. Though we're already aware that Call of Duty: Black Ops stands as the industry's "best selling game of all time" in terms of dollars, it was unclear where the game stood in terms of units sold.

Responding to a question regarding the unit sales differences between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg revealed that Treyarch's latest title has now achieved 25 million units since launching in November 2010. Modern Warfare 2, he said, has sold 22 million units since it was released in November 2009.

Activision hopes to continue the trend with 2011's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which the company noted will boast an even bigger marketing campaign than the franchise has seen in the past.

[Ed. Note: Clarified previous statement as was attempted by backlinking to the original source, the best-selling game of all time title Call of Duty holds is specific to dollars sold and not units sold.]

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

If you were thrilled when Activision announced the Call of Duty XP convention (in spite of the crushing torrent of negativity that is The Internet), you'll be secretly delighted to hear that the $150 two-day passes will go on sale on next Tuesday. (Shh! Be careful you don't crack a smile, or They'll know.)

The convention's festivities will include playable Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer, paintball on a recreation of Modern Warfare 2 map 'Scrapyard,' developer panels, and a real-life version of MW2's 'The Pit' training time trial.

The $150 two-day tickets will be available from the XP site at 10am PDT on July 19. All ticket proceeds will go towards Activision's veteran-helping Call of Duty Endowment organization. The event itself is over Labor Day weekend, on September 2 and 3, at "a secure 12-acre compound in the urban confines of Los Angeles."

Activision also revealed that Call of Duty XP's mega-tournament will be a 32-team, single-elimination tourney with a prize pool of "$1 million in cash and prizes," including a grand prize of $400,000.

Considering astonishingly successful the Call of Duty series is, breaking new sales records with each new installment, it wouldn't be at all surprising if tickets sold out quickly. If you fancy going, you might want to schedule a short break for Tuesday morning.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Given how monumentally successful Call of Duty is, it's a surprise this hasn't happened sooner. Franchise owner Activision today announced the first official convention celebrating the first-person shooter series, Call of Duty XP 2011. It'll take place over Labor Day weekend, September 2 and 3, at "a secure 12-acre compound in the urban confines of Los Angeles" and cost $150.

The festivities will include the premiere of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer, hands-on time with MW3's MP and Spec Ops co-op survival modes, paintball on a recreation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map Scrapyard, a real-life version of MW2's Spec Ops time trial 'The Pit,' the full reveal of subscription service Call of Duty Elite's functionality, and an armory displaying weapons from the series.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and the Call of Duty Elite service

In the realm of more traditional convention attractions, there will be developer discussion panels and Q&A sessions, contests, and tournaments, crowned by a 4-player team tourney with a $1 million prize pool.

The $150 two-day passes for Call of Duty XP 2011 go on sale on July 19. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Call of Duty Endowment, Activision's non-profit which helps ease armed forces veterans back into civilian life.

For those who wisely refuse to brave LA's weather and traffic, Activision assures there will be "a constant stream of high-production value videos" online and on television. There's no word yet on whether this will be free to watch or if a fee will be charged, like Activision subsidiary Blizzard does for its own BlizzCon.

"From the high production values of our live, immersive events--all the way to the smallest details in every design and activity--we're pulling out all the stops to make Call of Duty XP the ultimate gathering for the global community of Call of Duty fans," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg in the announcement. "The celebration will immerse attendees in a Call of Duty experience unlike anything they've ever seen before."

Considering how popular BlizzCon is as a community-strengthening tool and publicity platform for Blizzard's products--selling out within minutes every year--it's no surprise to see Activision follow suit with Call of Duty. It might only be a single franchise and arguably a single game, but it's just as beloved by its fans.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Former Infinity Ward members Jason Ward and Vince Zampella have been given permission to go forward with their lawsuit against Activision. Hollywood Reporter gives word that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge approved a trial detailing the controversy surrounding the release of Modern Warfare 2. This doesn't mean a ruling in their favor, however; merely that the case has enough merit to go to court. The trial is likely to begin later this year or early next year.

This is just the latest bit of drama surrounding the case. Activision filed a counter-suit against West and Zampella, then added EA to the suit to the tune of $400 million, alleging that the company was complicit. This claim was later supported by incriminating e-mails, which EA spokespersons shrugged off as a joke. More recently, West and Zampella added fraud charges for assurances of creative control and job security.

Shacknews has contacted West and Zampella's attorney on the case for official comment, and we will report back with any response.

Announcement - Valve
Act now and take advantage of huge savings!

Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare®, Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 and the DLCs are available at 50% off during the Midweek Madness sale. Visit the special sale page for the full list.

All offers end Thursday at 4pm PST.


Announcement - Valve
Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 Resurgence Pack and Stimulus Package is now on sale. Purchase before October 11th, 2010 and receive 50% off!

Product Release - Valve
The best-selling first-person action game of all time gets even bigger with more epic new multiplayer content! The Modern Warfare 2 Resurgence Pack delivers five incredible new multiplayer maps. Take the action to exciting new locations, then battle across legendary landscapes from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

If you already have Steam installed you can click here to install or play. If you don't have Steam, you can download it here.

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