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Activision Settles with EA Over West and Zampella Case, "Project Icebreaker" Details Surface
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Activision's legal wrangles with ex-Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, as well as with publisher EA, took a few dramatic twists and turns last night.

First came the news that Activision and EA have reached an out of court settlement, putting an end to legal action between the publishers. Then came the revelation of a court document implicating Activision in an underhand exercise called "Project Icebreaker," designed to force West and Zampella out.

Activision had sought $400 million in damages from EA as a result of disruptions and delays following West, Zampella and 40 other employee's departure from Infinity Ward. West and Zampella currently head up Respawn Entertainment, who have a publishing agreement with EA.

The terms of the settlement have not been publicly revealed yet, but that's not the end of the story. Not nearly. The case between Activision and West/Zampella continues, with the two parties set to go to court at the end of the month. It's sure to be be an explosive case.

Why's that? Because it has been alleged that Activision were attempting to push West and Zampella out of Infinity Ward long before they walked out in 2010. And what's more, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has been implicated.

A court filing from the ongoing legal case between the two parties shows that Activision's former IT director Thomas Fenady was asked to hack into work email, computers and phones in order to dig up dirt on West and Zampella, eight months before they were sacked and escorted from their offices at Infinity Ward by security staff.

As testified by Fenady, the plan to find reasons to dismiss the pair was referred to internally as "Project Icebreaker."

Fenady says he was advised to undertake the work by Activision's George Rose, who was then chief legal officer and is now chief public policy officer. Rose told him not get caught, but that if he did, "Bobby will take care of you. Don't worry about repercussions."

This is presumably a reference to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, suggesting that he was not only aware of the order, but supported it.

For his part Rose denies specifically asking Fenady to "dig up dirt." However he does admit to the existence of Project Icebreaker. He testified that the plan was to snoop on the entire company's email as a form of surveillance, not to specifically target West and Zampella.

Fenady also said that Activision considered staging a fake fumigation or setting off a fire alarm in the building in order to buy enough time to either access or copy the information on employee computers.

The assistance of third parties was also requested, said Fenady, but both Microsoft and inGuardians refused to help break passwords without a proper court order.

If the allegations are found to be true, Activision may find themselves in a weak position once the case goes to courts on May 29th. Either way, it's going to be huge.

[via Giant Bomb]


User Comments

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #1 by LovableCrazee
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:26:04 AM
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lol@ the huge picture at the bottom, that face scared the crap out of me

Forum Posts: 4461
Comment #3 by KillerBEA
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:27:10 AM
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@2 It scared me to......

Forum Posts: 1436
Comment #4 by Vigor
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:28:23 AM
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At the expense of our wallets, thanks.

Forum Posts: 45
Comment #5 by 123yhman
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:31:44 AM
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This has been going on for so long now, with all these new allegations and surprises, thank god it's almost coming to a close.

Forum Posts: 370
Comment #6 by PhantomNemesis
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:31:44 AM
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Did I just stumble on some spy novel here? A video game company surveilling another company? The fact that this project even existed amazes me, let alone what has been implied.

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #7 by Callam001
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:32:01 AM
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what a bunch of douche bags they are

Forum Posts: 271
Comment #8 by macd
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:32:23 AM
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Taking a page from the NewsCorp playlist (allegedly... I'll add incase the lawyers get me! That said, it's confirmed the NotW was hacking phones, so maybe I didn't need it).

Activision are rapidly becomes a bordelrine pantomine villain these days. Interesting to see the boss potentially implicated. Wonder if this will get mainstream news (it is a realtively big deal imo) or just circulate the gaming news.

Forum Posts: 84
Comment #9 by Lazy_FAQer
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:33:32 AM
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Activision... Just LOL.

Forum Posts: 128
Comment #10 by dark wing
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:38:45 AM
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Well that break the ice.

It's almost like Syndicate.

Forum Posts: 112
Comment #11 by Trendin
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:38:53 AM
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Two big babies...

Forum Posts: 225
Comment #12 by combustible lemon
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:45:09 AM
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this story just gets more and more mental the more you read.

activision clearly think they are so powerful they can do whatever they please in the pursuit of even more money.
And that face.....*shudders*

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #13 by kaiyo penguin
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:55:09 AM
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were they trying to do a james bond or some shit? i mean i know they published goldeneye....but seriously....

Forum Posts: 2200
Comment #14 by cheevo360
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 06:03:05 AM
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I playing Max Payne 3 and almost love it

Forum Posts: 1593
Comment #15 by H0p3sfalL
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 06:13:57 AM
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Why sack West and Zampella when they make you millions and millions ? Also these are people that work for you, not terrorists looking to over throw the goverment or you(Bobby).

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #16 by diziet
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 06:19:22 AM
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What I would like to say about bobby kotick...

... well; let your imaginations run riot.

Forum Posts: 893
Comment #17 by DaChiefOfOwnage
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 06:25:19 AM
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Can't wait to see what kind of shit's gonna go down. Hope West and Zampella kick big brother Bobby's ass so this kind of shit can probably not happen again for a while.

Forum Posts: 451
Comment #18 by deluxnugs
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 06:30:52 AM
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whoa first and second.that must be some kinda record that no one gives a shit about.why dont you go jump off a bridge into a dried up riverbed.

Forum Posts: 27
Comment #19 by FreiZeitGeipel
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 07:47:28 AM
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Another reason to boycott anything that comes with an Activision label on it.

Forum Posts: 469
Comment #20 by francisrossi
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 08:26:05 AM
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Whilst the case initially looked a bit he-said-she-said, this doesn't look good for Activision now.

Forum Posts: 2006
Comment #21 by XoNiNjAlEoNoX
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 08:32:35 AM
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you can make a call of duty out of this shenanigans

Forum Posts: 171
Comment #22 by BipolarGlenn
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 08:56:43 AM
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Wow. That is like some cheap political intrigue movie plot.

Forum Posts: 35
Comment #23 by Arcane Paradise
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 09:23:39 AM
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Hmm, maybe if they give all these idiots in Activision the boot and get some good people in, it might make Activision better, that is a big might, but ya never know.

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #24 by Son of a xBilfx
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 09:26:47 AM
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Give it a few years and Activision will make a new CoD title based on this.

Forum Posts: 141
Comment #25 by theIncredible
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 09:38:56 AM
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@6 it wasn't one publisher spying on another publisher, it was Activision spying on their own developers.

Forum Posts: 157
Comment #26 by ViVaGordito4evr
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 09:54:01 AM
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Ha-Ha! F*** Activision and Bobby Kotick especially. This looks like Karma to me. Maybe the Devil (Kotick) will actually see some jail time for this. It would be nice to finally see someone with unscrupulous business practices go down for it. He once boasted in an interview that he was making money by selling the rights to some Japanese games that he didn't even have the rights to yet. Classic schiester.

Forum Posts: 132
Comment #27 by Karl of Duty XP
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 10:44:54 AM
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I'm really looking forward to the game of Project Icebreaker, complete with a fumigation stealth level and "dig up dirt" QTE. The question is, who will get the rights to publish it? Activision or EA?

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #28 by Jack Flak
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 10:48:51 AM
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"Activision considered staging a fake fumigation or setting off a fire alarm in the building in order to buy enough time to either access or copy the information on employee computers."

Sounds like 24 crap to me.

Forum Posts: 470
Comment #29 by GoWisfun
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 01:22:50 PM
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Ugh, Sounds like IW want to go back to EA after all these years xD

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #30 by jb369
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 01:53:39 PM
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Looks like Kotick's time is tickin'...

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #31 by wickedclowns95
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 03:33:31 PM
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Fuck Bobby Kotick. That's what he get's for turning Activision into the McDonalds of the gaming industry. I hope he's fired from the company and escorted out by security. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he get's some jail time.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #32 by The Despair
Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 05:15:25 PM
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Really!? They were really going for the fake fire alarm trick just to violate the constitutional rights of their employees that spent night and day making them money? Activision is a bigger douche than I thought.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #33 by WadeMcG
Friday, May 18, 2012 @ 08:40:33 PM
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Another reason to ridicule Activision. I haven't felt this much contempt for Activision since they published some horribly botched Commodore 64 versions of Sega arcade games Enduro Racer and Afterburner.

Forum Posts: 494
Comment #34 by Timmsy
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 07:01:37 PM
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i am with number 6, if this is tru efuck you activision i hope you get raped by them back, underhanded corporate money hungry pricks.

and $400 million in damages? so you just grab numbers from thin air depending on a companys

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Infinity Ward


US November 10, 2009
Europe November 10, 2009

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