Patrick Klepek over at Giant Bomb has written a fascinating article regarding the case between Activision and Infinity Ward (developers and publishers of Call of Duty games) regarding ,’Project Icebreaker’. The project, which reportedly arose in 2009 over strained relations between Activision and Infinity Ward, was meant to improve relations between the two companies, however, reading through Patrick’s report contingency plans were also created should Project Icebreaker not go well.
Bit of history for the two companies:
Infinity Ward is an American video game developer. It created the video game Call of Duty and four other instalments (Call of Duty, CoD 2, CoD 4: Modern Warfare, CoD: Modern Warfare 2 and CoD: Modern Warfare 3) in the Call of Duty franchise. Activision, after forming a partnership with Valve, acquired Infinity Ward, developers of the Call of Duty franchise in 2003.
The information that has arisen really doesn’t put Activision in a good light at all. On page one (Introduction) of Project Icebreaker below it reads,
“Thomas Fenady testified that George Rose directed him in June or July 2009 to ‘dig up dirt on Jason and Vince’ because ‘We’re sick of dealing with these guys, their ego…we just want to get rid of them”
Thomas Fenady was director of IT at Activision, but left in 2009 and now works at Warner Bros. Fenady claims Rose asked him to gain access to West and Zampella’s email, voicemail and computer, and “don’t get caught doing it.” Whatever happened in the course of seeking out this information: “Bobby will take care of you. … Don’t worry about repercussions.” Rose denied he asked Fenady to specifically “dig up dirt” in his deposition with Activision, though he did discuss Project Icebreaker’s existence and instructing Fenady to find information.
Other allegations include, Fenady requesting the assistance of Microsoft to crack West and Zampella’s passwords, but Microsoft refused to comply without a court order. Third party InGuardians were also asked but they “didn’t feel comfortable” with the “legal hurdles.” Sensible decision. Another bit of information, that really shows the depths to which Activision wanted this information, was that there was also discussion about obtaining private access to Infinity Ward’s space in order to image the contents of West and Zampella’s computers by staging a fake fumigation or mock fire drill at the studio.
The trial date is et for May 29th 2012, and looks to be fascinating. For the full article and in-depth look at this, please read Patrick’s article over at Giant Bomb as there is a lot I haven’t mentioned.
Seems like Activision were using their game playing tactics in the real world of corporate espionage.
Patrick uploaded multiple images of the pages that he was sent; so I have merged them together and saved them as PDF’s for easier reading:
Activision_Infinity Ward Memorandum of Understanding
All credits and information in this article go to Patrick Klepek and Giant Bomb.