Gamasutra has posted a commented reproduction of the Call of Duty: Their Finest Hour development contract between Sparks Interactive and Activision. This document was made public as part of the legal battle between the two companies. It contains everything: clauses, obligations, warranties, assignment of rights, dates and payments, royalties, key team members – the whole shebang. Three lawyers comment the details of each section, and what problems they think could arise in the future.
If you are at all interested in learning about the workings of development contracts, this is one hell of a chance to do so for free. It won’t turn you into an expert, so certified and competent legal advice is still crucial for your own contracts.
The rough numbers: 21 months, $8.5 millon for a major game on PS2, XBox and Gamecube, in addition to the cost of the game engine, translation and other services that the Activision was to provide.