A lot of drama has transpired over the past few months between Infinity Ward and Activision. Vince Zampella and Jason West, founders of Infinity Ward and creators of the insanely popular Call of Duty franchise, were forced to leave the company under tenuous circumstances early last month. Since their departure, others from Infinity Ward have left and Activision has announced plans to continue the hit Call of Duty series with not only follow-ups in the first person shooter genre, but an action-adventure game title as well. Many see this as a potential misstep akin to Activision’s over-saturation of the market with their Guitar Hero franchise.
Kotaku reports this morning that West and Zampella have formed a new company, aptly named Respawn Entertainment, in partnership Electronic Arts. These guys are no strangers to EA as they previously left the company under unpleasant terms before ending up at Activision. Well, it seems like the two parties have made up and are now working together again. Respawn Entertainment games will be published through the EA partners program which is unique in offering developers complete independence and the right to retain all intellectual properties.
The lack of intellectual property ownership is believed to be among the chief problems that West and Zampella had at Activision and this assumption is bolstered by West’s comments via press release regarding the formation of this new development studio. "We're excited," the newly appointed President of Respawn Entertainment’s said, "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."
Zampella, who will assume the role of General Manager at Respawn Entertainment, said "Respawn Entertainment marks a fresh start for Jason and me. For the past decade we led a great development team and poured our hearts into creating an epic game franchise. 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."
There are no specifics regarding Respawn Entertainment's first title other than West's comments to the LA Times that he expects it to be of "huge, summer blockbuster" scale. This marks a new chapter for the masterminds behind some of the biggest game launches of the past few years, but litigation with Activision is ongoing, so there are sure to be a few more bumps along the way.