One email sent on March 3, 2010 by EA's senior director of global marketing Lincoln Hershberger was called "The Fall of IW?", and was directed to EA SVP of marketing Jeff Karp, EA LA general manager Sean Decker, EA Europe SVP Patrick Soderlund and EA Games label president Frank Gibeau. Hershberger allegedly wrote, "A couple months ago, I asked Vince (Zampella) to hold back their map pack (allegedly Modern Warfare 2's Stimulus Package) until after we launched (he owes me one). Given that they've already made a billion, he was cool with that, obviously (Activision CEO Bobby) Kotick took it as being belligerent."
Activision's Stimulus Package launched on Xbox Live on March 30, 2010. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 launched a few weeks earlier on March 2.
EA spokesman Jeff Brown claimed the emails were a joke, "This was obviously sarcasm. It's clear from the email this was a joke and they never spoke. We explained this to lawyers at Activision -- who apparently don't have much of a sense of humor."
The idea that the emails were just jokes is hard to accept when recalling older evidence Activision submitted from back in August 2009 when CEO John Riccitiello and COO John Schappert were in contact with West and Zampella:
Schappert: "Suggest Frank join - let's chat to close ..." Riccitiello: "Excellent. You should meet them separate and join me. More angles is good." Schappert: "Fyi, looks like Seamus has it in hand and Vince/Jason are aligned, which is good."
Riccitiello: "Excellent. You should meet them separate and join me. More angles is good."
Schappert: "Fyi, looks like Seamus has it in hand and Vince/Jason are aligned, which is good."
(At the time, West and Zampella were under representation by Seamus Blackley of Creative Artists Agency.)
This was followed by West and Zampella being sent a private jet by Electronic Arts to fly them to San Francisco to have a meeting at Riccitiello's home. Another email told Riccitiello, "We need to talk to our two friends down here -- all is good but it's time for a more aggressive approach."
As the old saying goes, where there's smoke, there's fire.