Are Treyarch and Activision bypassing Infinity Ward with Black Ops II's futuristic setting?
Two years ago, a row between Infinity Ward and Activision sparked the desertion of several key members of the team and the eventual formation of Respawn Entertainment. Since then, lawsuits have been filed by both Activision and former studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella against each other. Some of the pertinent documentation has since been released, revealing that Infinity Ward has exclusive rights to any title in the Call of Duty series set after the Vietnam War.
Quoting a publically released document provided for the lawsuit, known as the Memorandum of Understanding, "Any Call of Duty title set in modern day (post-Vietnam) the near future or distant future [...] shall be under the authority of IW [Infinity Ward] consent". It is quite obvious that Black Ops II's 2025 setting falls under the auspices of this agreement, though Treyarch and Activision are going ahead with this setting anyway.
According to a Game Informer report, this is only the latest in a series of attempts by Treyarch to modernize their games. Previous attempts include featuring weapons from the 1980s and 1990s in Black Ops to initially calling Black Ops "Modern Warfare Origins". Even the fact that Treyarch ported Modern Warfare to the Wii as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex, is seen as a violation of this clause to West and Zampella.
With Black Ops II set for launch on November 13, it remains to be seen if Activision's fall jewel will land them in trouble due to its setting. The consequence could be grave for the company, forcing them to pull the game off store shelves or perhaps forking over a sizeable award to the plaintiffs for punitive damages.
Source: Infinity Ward Memorandum of Understanding
Via: Game Informer
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