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Call of Duty lawsuit approved to move to trial phase

The court battle between game publisher Activision and the co-founders of the development team that created the Call of Duty shooter franchise can now move to its next phase. The Hollywood Reporter has posted up word that a judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court has ruled Tuesday that there is enough evidence to take the lawsuit between the parties involved to a trial. The story said that barring some kind of settlement, the trial could happen late in 2011 or early in 2012.

The court battle started in March 2010 when Activision fired Jason West and Vince Zampella, the co-founders of Infinity Ward which created the hugely successful Call of Duty game series for Activision. The publisher claims that West and Zampella broke their contracts. The publisher later said that the duo had been talking with rival publisher Electronic Arts about jumping ship to EA even though they were still under Activision's contract.

West and Zampella fired off a lawsuit just a few days after their firing, accusing Activision of firing them just because the company didn't want to pay the duo the massive royalty fees from the huge sales of the developer's last game for the publisher, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. West and Zampella, along with a number of ex-Infinity Ward team members, later formed a new game studio, Respawn Entertainment and secured a publishing deal with EA for their first game. Details about that game have yet to be released although its rumored to be a sci-fi themed shooter title.

In the meantime the remaining members of Infinity Ward are still working on the Call of Duty franchise for Activision. The team, working with Sledgehammer Games, is developing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 for release on November 8.

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