Former Infinity Ward studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella had projected salaries of $420,000 in 2009, with projected bonuses of more than $3 million each, emails
between Activision bosses in 2009 show.
The spreadsheet lists the expected salaries of the top 20 Infinity Ward employees in 2009 and 2010. The 18 remaining employees -- the bulk including software engineers and game designers -- had projected salaries between $71,500 and $173,000. The seven employees under West and Zampella each expected a bonus of $603,000, while staffers seeing the lowest percentage of the bonus pool (1.5 percent) had a projected $278,000.
In 2010, the year Activision fired West and Zampella, they were each expected to earn $437,000, with projected bonuses of $13 million each. The rest of the top 20's projected salaries and bonuses rose accordingly, with salaries between $74,000 and $180,000, and bonuses ranging from $1.4 million to $2.5 million.
"If you recently worked on a hit FPS, read this and see how incredibly underpaid you are," ngmoco general manager Benjamin Cousins tweeted
about the documents.
The emails were released into public record in the lawsuit
between the Infinity Ward Employee Group and Activision; West and Zampella sued Activision in 2010 claiming they were owed $36 million in royalties associated with Modern Warfare 2
after Activision fired them earlier that year. West and Zampella now claim $1 billion in damages and the case is set for trial May 29.