Specifically, Amrich says that employees who have left IW will not be receiving a cut of West and Zampella's now forfeited bonuses -- bonuses for Modern Warfare 2 were never paid, apparently. "Vince and Jason had very large bonuses; those bonuses are being redistributed to everybody else, to the people who did not allegedly attempt to steal company secrets," Amrich explains. "Activision is not pocketing that bonus money; it's still going to the people who work at IW. But you have to work at IW to get it, see? I don't want to see talented people screwed out of a paycheck any more than you do."
Although it's unclear whether the remaining IW employees have received their personal bonuses for MW2 just yet, Activision's lawsuit claims that Zampella and West "allocated to themselves approximately 1/3 of the total bonus pool for the Call of Duty franchise bonuses, which included the first Modern Warfare game." Further, it contends that "West and Zampella were demanding an even larger share of the bonus pool for Modern Warfare 2." Amrich reaffirms that the unpaid bonus to the duo is intended to be split up among the remaining employees at IW -- a claim also made by the lawsuit, which reads: "When Activision prevails in this matter, it intends to reallocate any share of the Modern Warfare 2 bonus pool that might otherwise have been payable to West and Zampella to those employees responsible for the success of the game who remain employees of the company."
That said, it could very well be some time before we see the resolution of the legal dispute between Zampella and West versus Activision. Regardless of the perceived situation at IW, Amrich admits that "more people will probably go," though he believes, "If you are young and hungry and have a vision for a new game, IW would be a really good place to be right now ... I suspect some of them are already employed at IW, just waiting for their shot." And we suspect that Amrich's not entirely off-base with that guess.
Update: On his personal blog, Amrich has made it clear, "I shouldn't be saying anything about the lawsuit," and has officially qualified his comments on the Facebook discussion thread as "personal conjecture." Still, his Facebook statements, as referenced in this post, seem to depict an accurate layman's interpretation of Activision's countersuit against West and Zampella, if not an "official" one.
Amrich has vowed, "I'll be more clear from now on when I'm speaking off the top of my head, the way I was in that conversation, and when I am referencing official info." So does that get him out of the doghouse, Activision?
Other quotables from the Activision countersuit:
"Activision is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that West and Zampella were concerned that Activision would offer IW employees rich financial packages, commensurate with the abilities and worth of the IW employees, to retain them. Thus, in order to make it unlikely that these employees of Activision's IW studio would remain with Activision, West and Zampella attempted to block those employees from receiving significant equity grants, bonuses and financial compensation and incentives they deserved. West and Zampella did this in a context in which they were already appropriating an inordinately large share of the bonus pools applicable to Modern Warfare games for themselves. For example, while they were the sole studio heads, West and Zampella allocated to themselves approximately 1/3 of the total bonus pool for the Call of Duty franchise bonuses, which included the first Modern Warfare game. West and Zampella were demanding an even larger share of the bonus pool for Modern Warfare 2.
"In light of the fact that neither West nor Zampella, by reason of the facts and circumstances set forth herein, is entitled to any additional compensation in respect of Modern Warfare 2, when Activision prevails in this matter, it intends to reallocate any share of the Modern Warfare 2 bonus pool that might otherwise have been payable to West and Zampella to those employees responsible for the success of the game who remain employees of the company subsequent to the resolution of the matter."
"In sum, after entering into agreements that provided West and Zampella with millions of additional compensation, West and Zampella openly expressed their intention to leave Activision and enter into competition with Activision, and expressly and covertly did much more than 'preparing to compete.' These acts as well as their repeated acts of rank insubordination are in direct violation of the West and Zampella Employment Agreements, and constitute breaches of the fiduciary duties owed to their employer, Activision and its stakeholders.
"Accordingly, Activision is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that it is clear West and Zampella felt the aforementioned awards would 'curry favor' with Activision among IW employees and interfere with West and Zampella's efforts to spin out the studio. Thus, West and Zampella attempted to block those significant monetary rewards to IW employees, so that they could obtain an advantage over Activision in securing those employees after West and Zampella departed IW.
"West and Zampella's self-interest in executing their 'spin out' plan clouded their judgment to such a degree that they actually attempted to damage the very IW employees they purported to lead. In July 2009, West and Zampella were asked by Activision to provide the names of the IW employees that should receive RSU (restricted stock unit) grants in connection with the Wii SKU. West and Zampella refused. In fact, they suggested Activision should give the grant to the two of them rather than to the IW team. Again, in October 2009, when Activision decided to include IW in its annual equity grant, West and Zampella refused to provide Activision with a list of the names of the IW employees that should receive the grant. In responding to the President and CEO of Activision Publishing concerning the equity grant, West wrote, 'You can give all the options to Vince and I, or you can wait like we have asked numerous times.'"