In theory, former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella could regain partial control of the Call of Duty franchise. We say in theory because the chances of that ever happening are somewhere between slim and none. But the two counts of fraud that the duo added to its lawsuit against Activision earlier this week also asked the court to rescind the Memorandum of Understanding agreement. If the court were to give them a favorable ruling hypothetically, the duo could co-own Call of Duty and release their own games in the series. It’s an interesting scenario to explore, even if it is on par with the plot to Independence Day in terms of likelihood.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter – and most anyone with an inkling of common sense say that this will never happen.
Pachter explained to IndustryGamers that the law won’t allow West and Zampella to co-own the brand because there’s no legal basis for it.
"West and Zampella have no prayer of obtaining control of the brand," stressed Pachter. "They can claim that they were granted creative control, and there is a reasonable chance that they would prevail, but they lost that control when their employment was terminated. If they can prove their termination was wrongful, they will be entitled to damages, but there is no legal basis to award ownership of the brand to them. They could conceivably change their complaint and seek reinstatement as employees, but I haven’t seen any demands from them to make that happen."
"As it happens, they have never claimed that they ‘own’ the brand; instead, they claim that they were granted creative control over the brand under their employment agreement. These are two completely different things. Their creative control was clearly intended to be in effect only while they were employees, and the day that their employment terminated, their creative control ended (made clear by Bobby’s alleged comment that "[i]t’s impossible for you guys to get fired"). Since they think that they were wrongfully terminated, they are pursuing a claim for damages, which would be the appropriate remedy."
Image source: Paperback Writer