Activision were "looking for excuses to dump" ex-Infinity Ward heads in 2009, document claims

Call of Duty Modern Warfare

According to a court document supplied to Giant Bomb , Activision's former IT director was asked to hack into the e-mail, phone and computer accounts of former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella.

The document in question is a court filing that forms part of the imminent trial between Activision and the Modern Warfare creators. In it, former IT director Thomas Fenady claims that he was asked to "dig up dirt on Jason and Vince" in 2009 by George Rose, Activision's chief legal officer at the time. During his deposition, Rose denied that this was the case.

Activision have subsequently attempted to exclude Fenady's evidence, and the court filing in question argues on West and Zampella's behalf that the motion should be rejected. The significance of Fenady's testimony is that it suggests that Activision were moving against West and Zampella in 2009, earlier than previously suggested. If true, this assists West and Zampella's case that they were let go "in bad faith".

The hack was allegedly part of Activision's cringe-inducingly named 'Project Icebreaker', an ongoing attempt to secure the relationship between Infinity Ward and the publisher. According to Giant Bomb, this was in part a positive effort to improve relations - to break the ice, as it were. At a certain point, however, the document claims that Activision's focus shifted away from diplomacy towards - as Fenady reportedly put it in a Facebook message - "looking for excuses to dump [West and Zampella]."

Thomas Fenady also claims that Rose told him to disregard the legal implications of the hack. "Bobby [Kotick] will take care of you. This comes from Bobby directly ... don't worry about repercussions." Fenady allegedly tried to enlist the help of third-parties to crack into Zampella and West's computers and e-mail: Microsoft refused to help without a court order, and a private network security firm, InGuardians, "didn't feel comfortable doing it".

Activision recently paid out $42m in delayed bonuses to the 'Infinity Ward Employee Group' as part of a separate case. It was also suggested last week that Black Ops 2's setting could violate the agreement between West and Zampella as laid out in Infinity Ward's original Memorandum of Understanding.

Chris Thursten

Joining in 2011, Chris made his start with PC Gamer turning beautiful trees into magazines, first as a writer and later as deputy editor. Once PCG's reluctant MMO champion , his discovery of Dota 2 in 2012 led him to much darker, stranger places. In 2015, Chris became the editor of PC Gamer Pro, overseeing our online coverage of competitive gaming and esports. He left in 2017, and can be now found making games and recording the Crate & Crowbar podcast.