When the former heads of Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward said last week that they would address their creative futures “very soon,” they weren’t kidding. Today, Jason West and Vincent Zampella officially announced the formation of their new company, Respawn Entertainment.
“For the past decade we led a great development team and poured our hearts into creating an epic game franchise,” Zampella said in a statement. “We’re very proud of what we built – and proud that so many millions of fans enjoyed those games. Today we hope to do it all over again — open a new studio, hire a great team, and create brand new games with a new partner, EA.”
Catch that last bit? It seems Activision’s suspicions about Zampella and West secretly meeting with EA while under Activision’s employ were entirely accurate. EA Games label president Frank Gibeau said of the deal, “This is the start of a great publishing partnership – one that I expect will develop blockbuster game franchises. Jason and Vince are two of the top creative leaders in the entertainment industry. At EA, we’re honored to be their partners and to give them the support they need to hire a team and return to making incredible games.”
We were already expecting the Activision/Infinity Ward battle to rage mightily in court, and this latest news will surely tack on a few hundred degrees more of intensity. Adding to the fire too is the fact that Respawn proudly trumpeted that it will have complete control over its intellectual properties.
“We’re excited. Now that the team is in control of the games and brands, we can ensure that the fans are treated as well as they deserve,” said Respawn Entertainment president West.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the first title from Respawn should be out in two to three years. Expect to hear plenty more about this story as it continues to develop.