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Light reading: The Call of Duty contract


Gamasutra published the full development contract for Call of Duty: Finest Hour. The backstory is in 2005 developer Spark sued Activision for "breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation." Activision "counter-sued for fraud, breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, trade-mark infringement, false designation of origin, and false advertising." To make the legal jargon make sense to those without a law degree, Gamastura got together three game attorneys to comment on every page of the contract. The document includes "milestone payment specifics" and other tidbits on the purely business side of game development. This contract was publicly released as part of the legal dispute between Activision and developer Spark.

Attorney Tom Buscaglia explains, "Contracts such as these are rarely made public because they inevitably contain confidentiality provisions that prohibit the publication of or even talking about their terms. But once the contract was filed as an exhibit in the lawsuit, and then unsealed by the court, the contract became public information." It's a fascinating read for those interested in learning what goes on behind-the-scenes. Plus, it beats the normal way of getting information about development: Hooking up code monkeys with a lot of booze at the Game Developers Conference and pumping them for information.

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