Ex-IW Bosses Open New Studio, Announce Deal With EA
The Activision/Infinity Ward blowup isn't about to go away anytime soon but that hasn't stopped the two ex-IW leads from moving on with their lives.
Today, as reported by GameSpot, EA has announced a deal with Vince Zampella and Jason West; the publisher will be the sole distributor for any games the duo's new studio pumps out. That's right, a new studio: called Respawn Entertainment (get it?), the new development team, headed by the embattled duo, will be "in the same part of Los Angeles as Infinity Ward," which contributed greatly to the $3 billion Call of Duty franchise (Modern Warfare 2 alone generated $1 billion). "For a cut of the sales proceeds," EA Partners often teams up with talented studios, including Valve Software (Left 4 Dead 2), Crytek (Crysis 2), and Epic Games (Gears of War, Bulletstorm). All of this within days of Activision filing a countersuit against Zampella and West, accusing them of "breach of contract and insubordination" and of being "self-serving schemers." You may also remember that the publisher said the two had embarked on a "secret trip" to Northern California...well, EA's HQ is in San Francisco and now we have this deal, here. Therefore, in an update, Activision responded quickly to this turn of events by saying:
"This agreement comes as no surprise to Activision given the myriad of improper activities detailed in the cross-complaint filed on Friday against Jason West and Vince Zampella. We look forward to continuing to work with Infinity Ward’s deep bench of proven talent on exciting new projects."
Not surprisingly, given the current struggle, Respawn Entertainment emphasized that they will retain "full control of all intellectual properties it creates." Of course, that's part of the whole battle with Activision; Zampella and West have claimed that the publisher promised them control of the Modern Warfare brand before unceremoniously firing them. The former IW bosses also seek some $36 million in damages from (apparently) unpaid royalties. And by the way, Respawn made it abundantly clear that they're currently hiring, and EA has promised to help them assemble "a world-class team of designers, artists and engineers."
And so, the saga continues. Who wants to bet that the first game from Respawn Entertainment will feature some little Easter Egg that that involves a not-so-subtle jab at Activision...?
4/12/2010 3:06:54 PM Ben Dutka