You may have heard recently about the... minor disagreement... that happened between Activision and Infinity Ward, in a situation that escalated to the point of Activision firing Jason West, IW's president, game director, co-CCO and CTO, and and Vince Zampella, the company's CEO and co-founder.
Now, I don't want to take sides or cause any fanboy-inspired arguments, but needless to say it's a pretty serious situation, with both parties taking legal action against one another, rumours and allegations flying around left, right and centre. For those of you who want to get more information about that whole debacle, and get some more solid understanding of who said what, here are some handy links. Firstly, here are the lawsuit documents that West and Zampella have filed against Activision: http://www.joystiq.com/photos/activision-infinity-ward-lawsu...
and the countersuit documents from Activision: http://uk.media.xbox360.ign.com/articles/108/1082884/imgs_1....
Key points to note: the case is scheduled to go to court on June 21st, and any information that you hear regarding the case before then will no doubt be unsubstantiated rumour and gossip. As this is a legal case, there will no doubt be full disclosure on a lot of the information from both parties and their lawyers, which is understandable. Another pretty important piece of information to know is that in the legal documents from Activision, it's made clear that despite previous claims suggesting otherwise, they are
paying the Infinity Ward employees the entirety of what is owed to them from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
's overwhelming financial success. Finally, please remember that none of us know the true facts of what has happened between the two parties, so don't just take the hearsay and gossip as fact!
Anyway, enough of that jargon. Today, West and Zampella announced that they have co-founded a new developer, called Respawn Entertainment, and signed an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with EA:
Today, Jason West and Vince Zampella, creators of the multi-billion dollar Call of Duty franchise, announced the formation of a new development studio — Respawn Entertainment. The move positions the Respawn Entertainment leadership team as the owners of the intellectual property they create. The company will focus on creating state-of-the-art gaming experiences for global audiences.
Respawn is pleased to also announce that it has awarded Electronic Arts, through the distinguished EA Partners program, exclusive worldwide publishing and distribution rights to future games. Terms were not disclosed. West and Zampella are represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
"Respawn Entertainment marks a fresh start for Jason and me," said Vince Zampella, General Manager of Respawn Entertainment. "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."
"We're excited," added Jason West, President of Respawn Entertainment. "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."
Frank Gibeau, President of the EA Games Label commented, "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."
As per the legal kerfuffle, it's totally unknown what will happen with the Modern Warfare
license, and whether Respawn will be able to utilise it in their future projects, or whether it'll stay with Infinity Ward, or even if it will end up owned solely by Activision. Judging from those legal docs, West and Zampella do seem to be vying for the COD and MW license, but who knows what will happen. The safe bet would assume that West and Zampella will continue doing what they're so good at, and focus on making another war-based FPS IP, but fingers crossed we'll be seeing a radically different and potentially more exciting project from them.
Then again, would EA want to publish a military shooter as essentially a direct competitor to their upcoming Medal of Honor
, as well as Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Check the external link below to see Respawn's beautifully-designed, minimalist website.