Respawn Entertainment; Jason West and Vince Zampella

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Respawn Entertainment; Jason West and Vince Zampella

Post by Administrator on Tue 13 Apr - 4:39


Jason West and Vince Zampella are planning a new company called Respawn Entertainment.

The recently layed off heads of Infinity Ward Jason West and Vince Zampella are planning to start a new company named Respawn Entertainment. They couldn't have chosen a better name, as it seems they're back in the game after being shot down by Activision.

Background:

Just over a month back, bodyguards were needed to escort Jason and Vince outside of Infinity Ward's doors after an meeting with a studio head from Activision (publisher) went south. Both Jason and Vince were fired by Activision because they "morphed from valued, responsible executives into insubordinate and self-serving schemers who attempted to hijack Activision's assets for their own personal gain." No numbers were specified but Activision felt they were entitled to withhold all future payments to Jason and Vince, to recover past payments "during the period of their disloyalty," and compensatory damages. Activision fired West and Zampella on March 1, alleging they had violated their contracts by seeking to start an independent studio and purposefully slowing the production of games while working for the publisher.

Both Jason and Vince chose not to go down without a fight as they felt the allegations were "false and outrageeous." In their lawsuit to Activision they allege that Activision fired them as a way to deprive the developers of royalties earned from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which has generated more than $1.5 billion in worldwide revenue since the game launched in November. The lawsuit claims Activision owes the duo $36 million in royalties and damages.

Source: LA Times

The suit also claims that the pair delayed pre-production on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which Activision likely hopes to release in late 2011.

"Activision's inaccurate and misguided allegations lose sight of the reality here: None of the false claims of insubordination or breach of duties had any negative affect on Activision -- none. Modern Warfare 2 has been the world's most successful video game. And none of this changes the fact that Jason and Vince would still be at Infinity Ward developing new games except that Activision kicked them out. This is just an Activision tactic to avoid paying Jason and Vince and everyone else at Infinity Ward the millions of dollars they all earned and that Activision owes them. Since being fired by Activision, Jason and Vince have taken steps to regain control over their creative future and plan to have an announcement very soon."

Well, that day has come as Jason West and Vincent Zampella announced starting a new company from the ground up to the LA Times on Sunday.

Future

Respawn Entertainment is initially being funded with several million dollars in seed capital by EA, according to people familiar with the situation. In a typical publishing deal, developers are given money by a publisher up front that they can earn back from the game's sales revenue.

The duo has learned from this rather nasty situation with Activision and negotiated a deal with EA so they will own and have full control over the intellectual property they create which is a rarity in the video game world.

"This is a total reset," Zampella said. "We're starting again from ground zero. It's daunting and exciting."

The move, a rare bet on individual talent in an industry usually focused on big brand names, means there will be a major new title competing for gamers when Respawn finishes its first product in two or three years. It could also presage more independence and financial benefits for the creators of hit games, particularly if West and Zampella win or favorably settle their lawsuit.

It will be a while until the studio will have it's first game on the shelves. Not much has been said on what direction the duo will take with Respawn but it will most likely be a first person shooter much like their previous franchises Medal of Honor and Call of Duty. Though West did say he expected it to be of "huge, summer blockbuster" scale. He added that they would consider turning their games into films, comic books and other media.

Big plans! We wish them both all the best of luck with their newly founded company! And don't forget, Infinity Ward is a company with about 110 talents that will fight for their own future. So even though two (4 actually) major players have left the studio we're positive that IW will keep their head in the game.

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