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Plugged In

With trial looming, former Infinity Ward heads speak out

Plugged In

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Jason West and Vince Zampella (Getty Images)

Usually, in the days leading up to a multimillion-dollar trial, both parties keep their mouths shut. But when it's Jason West and Vince Zampella, the former studio heads of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward, the normal rules go out the window.

The pair sat down with Game Informer for an in-depth conversation, discussing their side of the long battle with their former publisher Activision and revealing a few secrets in the process.

For instance, mere moments into the amazing interview (a complete text of which will be in the magazine's July issue), their attorney Robert Schwartz drops the name of a previously unannounced (presumably Call of Duty) game, "Fog of War," which was being worked on by Sledgehammer Games before that team was pulled into development on Modern Warfare 3.

Later, he mentions Activision has retained a new attorney for the trial-- Beth Wilkinson, who is best known for successfully arguing for the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Regarding Activision, the pair says they were in the midst of renegotiating their contract when the company handed them a note saying they were being investigated for improper conduct and breach of fiduciary duty.

Later, Schwartz says, they learned that Activision had been conducting a secret investigation of West and Zampella for some time, apparently frustrated at the relationship rift that had formed between the developers and the publisher.

West and Zampella say their agreement with Activision gave them the right to make any game they wanted after Modern Warfare 2 -- and they admit that might not have been Modern Warfare 3.

"Maybe we would have done a new IP, maybe we would have done Modern Warfare 3, or maybe we would have done a new IP and then Modern Warfare 3," said Zampella.

"Resting a brand isn't a bad thing. We saw it as protecting it. And it's like, we're always working, it's not like we're going to sit around and do nothing for a while. So it's like let's do something else that will be good for Activision, and then go back to that."

The conversation is fascinating reading and well worth your time. Keep in mind, though, that both parties have dramatically different versions of how the events leading up to the dismissal of West and Zampella occurred.

The trial is currently set to start June 1, three days later than originally planned.

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