Submitted by Johnny Cullen 2006d ago | news

EA announces new development studio headed by Zampella, West

VG247: EA's just announced the formation of a brand new studio headed by ex-Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West called Respawn Entertainment. (Industry)

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movements  +   2006d ago
You can't keep good men down....
StanLee  +   2006d ago
They're foolish. They should have waited for the litigation to end. This will give credence to Activision's assertions that they were secretly in talks with EA and conniving to poach staff.
young juice  +   2006d ago
do i smell.... oh wait, its just another FPS
thehitman  +   2006d ago
@ Stan I disagree
There is no way of proving something like that they can easily say that once we were fired EA approached us or we approached EA all activision can do is throw up conspiracy theories. Activision fired them they didnt quit so all they can do is cry and hope this doesnt affect MW3 so much.
DEA Fresh  +   2006d ago
Great News
Glad to see these guys found work fast. Hope this studio moves fast. Can't wait to see the new IP's they come out w. Hopefully they get a game out this gen. What a smack in the face to Activison though I'm sure they wish they were still involved w/ IW and COD.

EDIT: See a lot of people saying more IW workers should switch studios and that'd be fine but the 1 guy I don't want to see is Robert Bowling aka 402. He is such a tool bag wish he was removed from IW.
#1.4 (Edited 2006d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Christopher  +   2006d ago
Exactly #1. Lots of people would sit around and waste time pouting and trying to get back at their former employers, these guys just roll with it and get more of what they wanted in the first place. I'm guessing we'll be seeing an announcement for two lead positions being taken up by former IW staffers any moment now.
Brklynty1  +   2006d ago
In the words if the asian dude on the wendy's commercial...
AWWWWW SNAP! *snaps finger*
morganfell  +   2006d ago
It will be interesting to see how many people bail from Infinity Ward to join them.
krisq  +   2006d ago
I actually think two ex-heads from IW mean s*** without their former team. I wouldn't be surprised at people from IW jumping ships soon. Activision desevers that.
#1.8 (Edited 2006d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
lodossrage  +   2006d ago
@Stan Lee and thehitman
Ok normally I never agree with stan lee. But you're actually both right

The thing is, them going to EA pretty much right after Activision already publicly said they were planning a mutiny of sorts and secretly in talks in EA makes Activision's claim LOOK (not necessarily is) more valid.

But at the same time, hitman is right because they were FIRED. They didn't leave of their own free will. It won't be easy for Acti to prove any mutiny because they didn't quit of their own free will. So yeah for the most part all Activision can do about that is toss up a theory here and there
#1.9 (Edited 2006d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
morganfell  +   2006d ago
People here are not looking at this from an industry point of view, or in some cases even an intelligent one.

There is no way this new studio was announced without the permission of the EA lawyers as well as the Zampella/Ward legal team. No doubt there is full realization of what could occur had there been illegal meetings. Notice I said "illegal meetings" not "secret meetings." Despite loud mouth comments by Activision, the inability for Zampella and Ward to talk to other entities may not be that air tight from a legal perspective.

They likely did not talk to anyone at all.

The very fact that they (EA) have issued this statement is if anything baiting Activision to say something. It will be easy for EA, Ward, and Zampella to disclose emails and phone records that clearly show when there was a first contact.
#1.10 (Edited 2006d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
OmegaSlayer  +   2006d ago
It's a no brainer that 2 really skilled and talented guys would have found a BIG producer in a glimpse of an eye.

The time for the announcement are wrong imho, but, as a gamer, I'm more than pleased.

Sledgehammer now is at Activision trying to do something new, while Respawn while have new freedom at EA.

What would be good is that bigger publishers should "force" a certain kind of co operation between the developers, like Sony does with its studios.
Sharing some tech knowledge and some ideas could only do well to games.
Elven6  +   2006d ago
thehitman: There was a story recently that an ex IW staffer basically confirmed rumors that EA and other studios were trying to poach Zampella and West from Activision in 04/05. Activision probably has proof internally that something was indeed going down, they wouldn't have struck without it. Now that this studio has been founded it is basically the icing on the cake.
thehitman  +   2006d ago
@ elven
It could all be true but it becomes all irrelevant because Activision fired them and not for the reason of trying to leave for another company. The only way Activision would have a valid case if they left freely and then all of a sudden they joined EA. You forget that also EA wanted to take over Take-Two but it didnt happen. I bet its not uncommon that huge publishers try to steal developers from competitors.
Elven6  +   2005d ago
You can't fire someone without a valid reason in North America, Activision has claimed that Zampella and West were attempting to leave and take talent with them along with the IP apparently. When this originally happened their were also rumblings that they were already working on the rival title at Infinity Ward using Activision money, tech, etc. I think there's more to it but I haven't followed it as much as I'd like to.
jjohan35  +   2005d ago
If I got fired, I will not sit around and remain unemployed. This shouldn't affect their current litigation. It is very difficult to prove in court what Activision is accusing the two guys. The burden of proof is on Activision. The co-founders will not have a difficult time proving that they have rights to royalties. It's part of their contract.
Information Minister  +   2005d ago
So these guys left EA at odds in 2002 after working in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, resulting in a lawsuit. They joined Activision and even took a stab at EA when they closed a studio in 2008, using COD4 (remember the message "EA Chicago: Infinity Ward is hiring. [email protected]"?). Now they leave Activision, with a lawsuit in progress and go back to EA?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees the irony here.
morganfell  +   2005d ago
You bring up a good point but remember that Zampella and West were contracted employees and thus the Department of Labor regulations regarding Termination Without Cause do not apply in the same manner as an hourly wage employee.

That said, it does prop open the door for a host of legal actions by Zampella and West. Activision will be forced to prove that Zampella and West failed to perform to the level and specifics of their contract (MW2 will make that difficult) or they must prove that they violated some term or terms in their contract or the SOW (Statement Of Work).

And remember, there are places in North America where you can be fired with no reason...or worse.

#1.17 (Edited 2005d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Beast_Master  +   2005d ago
Does anyone remember Sledgehammer games is the guys who did Dead Space that jumped ship to do COD action game for Activision. SO I kinda think this makes these guys even.
Solidus187-SCMilk  +   2005d ago
good for them. I hope they get the money that activision owes them for MW2.
Their first game should be

Call to Duty: Future Warfare.
DigitalHorror81  +   2005d ago
Found this.
"Any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work."
tdrules  +   2006d ago
*breathes in*

frankymv  +   2006d ago
Respawn Studios
The name makes perfect sense
thehitman  +   2006d ago
Good for them
And GJ on EA picking up some nice talent. Maybe EA can send some devs they had to cut to help their new studio.
Goldsack  +   2006d ago
..now payback time Activenitches.
Brklynty1  +   2006d ago
Just like how EA killed killed Tony Hawk with Skate, GH with Rock Band(that's EA right? Correct me if I'm wrong), this is the end of Call of Duty as we know it, Activision f*cked up! Oh and @stanlee, not really because they were terminated and they need jobs right? Plus it said they were I guess talking to other publishers, it didn't specify which publisher, could have been Sony, Microsoft, THQ, who knows, though most likely it was EA. MW3 published by EA FTW!!!!
jjohan35  +   2005d ago
Call of Duty/Modern Warfare franchise is owned by Activision. Even though the founders have moved to EA, they can't move the franchise to EA with them. They can, however, create a new franchise that will compete head to head with Modern Warfare.

It will be interesting to see from here on out the games produced by DICE and Respawn Studios, since everyone compared BC games to MW games. Didn't Zampella and West both work on Medal of Honor originally?
#6.1 (Edited 2005d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Kratos Spartan  +   2006d ago
How is this a good thing?
They're the brains behind the MW series, they didn't support the first one very well, and the second was broken to sh!t. No one else is to blame for that. I'll be cautious if I see their name attached to any game now.
Dnied  +   2006d ago
Nobody else to blame?

I'd put like 90% of the blame for mw2 on Activision.

EA picking these 2 is great.. they came up with mw1 that Activision was hesitant about approving. Mw1 was amazing, then they rushed IW to throw mw2 out the door.

When the exact same thing has happened to decent franchises under activision (guitar hero) how can you blame this all on the two IW developers?
Kratos Spartan  +   2006d ago
YOU would put 90% blame on Activision?
and who are you again? You're just pulling numbers out with no proof of anything. Just another assumption without meaning. No way am I defending anyone here, especially Acti, but IW are more responsible for giving us a broken game, since they are the developers.
JeffGUNZ  +   2006d ago
@ Kratos Spartan
Are you kidding me? Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was one of the best games this generation and best online experience to date. MW2 is almost as good. These are two incredible games. Did you ever think that this studio will be good? Think about it. Activision is probably riding IW to pump out a game in a set period of time. Maybe on their own, they can take their time and make a game that's even better than the original MW. Give them a chance before you discredit them.
#7.3 (Edited 2006d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Pennywise  +   2006d ago
IW couldn't be bothered to patch in rumble for the first MW. If you think that was only Activisions call, you are crazy.

I will not support Activision games unless they come from Blizzard.

Hopefully EA will teach these guys how to support their game properly.
testerg35  +   2006d ago
So Activision could have been right. Activision said that they were planning on leaving, but also was trying to take IW members with them.
Christopher  +   2006d ago
Eh... that's not sound logic.

What do you expect two high-level execs of a development company to do when they've been fired? First thing that comes to my mind is get jobs doing what they were doing beforehand, especially with the recent accolades they've garnered from the gaming community.

Saying this is a sign that they were already in talks with EA is kind of like shooting a guy, finding a knife in his pocket, and then proclaiming that he was obviously going to murder someone.
#8.1 (Edited 2006d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
BeaArthur  +   2006d ago
From bad to worse for Activision. Somehow I wouldn't be surprised if more and more IW employees start defecting.
RedVsBlue  +   2006d ago
There is nothing wrong with two guys who had no intention on renewing their contracts with Activision after October start talking to other companies. Activision was just pissed that they were not going to renew the contract & stay with them. Activision can keep Call Of Duty in WW2 era all they want & charge monthly for all I care
Lucreto  +   2006d ago
You are right you can't expect them to sit around waiting for their contract to expire. They were getting ready to leave Activision in October and Activision didn't like it and fired them. It just got them in a new studio earlier that expected.
BXbomber  +   2006d ago
they own the modern warfare franchise right? and could this mean that EA could be publishing MW3? or does MW3 stay with activision?
BeaArthur  +   2006d ago
I'm not 100%, but I believe it will stay with Activision. It doesn't matter though because as bad as MW2 was I don't know if I would buy MW3 if it was published by Activision anyways.
Spiderman  +   2005d ago
Infinity Ward own Modern Warfare but Activision own Infinity Ward.

These guys left infinity ward, despite it being originally their own company, so activion keep modern warfare, even though they created it.

Its their own fault for selling the company.
RedVsBlue  +   2006d ago
We will find out after the court hearing bomber. But it is interesting to note that while the regular edition of MW2 has COD in the title the other editions do not
R_A_LEE20  +   2006d ago
EA - 1 V Acti - 0
I'm sure this will be a kick in Bobby Koticks nuts, cos he sure deserves one.
Captain Tuttle  +   2006d ago
So are EA the good guys now?
The Wood  +   2005d ago
i think they're the most reformed...kinda
skate was fresh, so was dead space, burnout was good..im just not into the sports games that they pump out yearly. They only really put the work in when theres a competitor game out thats good (fifa vs pro) and they had to nick konami guys to do that. Did you see the last nascar games quality.....WTF so NO they're NOT the good guys just the lesser of 2 evils and if they support this new studio and give them air to breathe and do what they like, like they did criterion, then its all good.

Do you know that organisations have the ability to....u know....change and us our opinion of them mr turtle....just saying
#14.1 (Edited 2005d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Captain Tuttle  +   2005d ago
I know opinions can change...
Hell, you changed yours in the middle of your sentence. FWIW, I've been pleased with EA this gen (outside of the sports games which I don't play anyway). They're taking risks and I respect that. My comment was just referring to the trend that the internet, and gamers especially, always seem to need a "bad guy" to rail against.
#14.2 (Edited 2005d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
The Wood  +   2005d ago
i didnt change my opinion
....well maybe i did:)

but yeah, we are grown int a system where there is ALWAYS a bad guy...people love simplicity
Elwenil  +   2006d ago
A few years ago I would have cringed at this news. EA used to be the bad guy publisher who ate up small studios for huge profits, putting out cookie cutter games and while they haven't strayed too far from that, at least now they are putting out decent titles and it's amazing how a publisher as bad as Activision can make EA look "good". I hope EA continues to push decent titles and I hope that they learned a few lessons from this whole Activision deal. I hope EA lets West and Zampella have a bit more creative freedom to do what they do best. I may not care much for the CoD series, but it's impossible to deny the appeal and that came straight from West and Zampella. I'm not going to hold MW2 against them because I believe that either Activision pushed the game in that direction or IW sabotaged the title to spite Activision, or possibly a good deal of both, but that's just my opinion. If Respawn and EA put out something interesting I'll probably give them a shot.
#15 (Edited 2006d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
SephireX  +   2006d ago
Zampella and West should start working on Battefield games to piss Activion off some more.
Dandiego  +   2006d ago
Zampella and West
No they will do a new IP and this is GREAT news for gamers!! Finaly a challenger to the crown... IW youre going DOWN
Volomon  +   2006d ago
Read Harder
@StanLee Or...they are proving a point that neither is against the law, and frivolous/ridiculous to even put in a legal statement. Let alone is it probably even remotely in their contract. Activision is only using it as a base to break their contract and take their 36 million owed to them away.
Brklynty1  +   2006d ago
I wouldn't be surprise if you see IW members jumping ship...
They're only there for the royalties and they're gone. They have to get their money before their contract is up. Activision only speculated they were planning on leaving and were talking to rival companies. I'm pretty sure the proof is very minimal. Plus they fired these guys, saying to the judge "You see! They wanted to join EA." would be dumb on their part because they are the ones that fired them and the guys need jobs. Activision games are dying anyways, Tony Hawk, GH, CoD(eventually), all they have left is WoW and I'm pretty sure most revenue goes to Blizzard.
BC2 is just plain better than MW2, MoH may even pass MW2 as well. They killed the Spiderman franchise. What else do they have?
Elwenil  +   2005d ago
I believe Dead Pixel reported a rumor in the last "Inside Gaming" that another two IW team members jumped ship.


Just a rumor, but probably has more truth to it than most of the "news" here, lol.
-MD-  +   2005d ago
Fantastic news. I hope they develop something so ridiculously good that people move on from Call of Duty. The name is perfect too I really like it.
MK_Red  +   2005d ago
Since I hate Activision with all my heart, this should be the best of news for me but I'm worried about the current trial. Hopefully the a-holes at Activision don't use this to win their disgusting case.
Rafa  +   2005d ago
I'm not a law speciallist here, but I don't see how can Activision win this one. I mean, sure, they can say IW heads were in talks with EA (or any other publisher for that matter), but hey, that's no sin as long as people know they were fired first.

I wouldn't mind talking to other publishing companies if the bosses on my magazine decide to cut me out of the staff. In fact, there would be nothing wrong with it.

From my point of view (again, I'm just guessing here), Activision brought this on itself. Modern Warfare will remain with Kotick's company since its their brand property, but hey, there's always Bad Company for comparison, which is an EA franchise. I'm definitely hped to see how Zampella and West will work on it, if they will at all.
KingJFS  +   2005d ago
EA doesn't own Respawn
Did anyone even read the press release? EA doesn't own Respawn, Zampella and West do. EA is just the publisher.

Striking out on your own after being fired from another company isn't against any laws and would be illegal if placed in an employment contract.
AKS  +   2005d ago
I wonder what DICE thinks about Respawn. Both Respawn and DICE are going to pwn what's left of IW, though.
BattleAxe  +   2005d ago
Good stuff, it looks like EA is about to come back on top.
slave2Dcontroller  +   2005d ago
LOL Brilliant Name. Clever minds man.
J@D  +   2005d ago
It's getting hot right before E3... *yikes*

This is gonna be interesting INDEED!
Got2bemad2behere  +   2005d ago
Doesn't anyone else see the irony in the new name and between CoD series.
Mikeyy  +   2005d ago
So you go from Activision to EA.

Just one slut to another. I guess if the sex is good...
The Iron Sheik  +   2005d ago
Smart move guys they get canned by the greediest publisher in the business and what do they do? Sign with the second greediest publisher.
Consoldtobots  +   2005d ago
yeah but somehow the phrase "dropped his pants" comes to mind for what EA had to do to get this deal.
NEWSWATCHERS  +   2005d ago
They orginally left EA to make a better game (COD) since EA didnt let them create the game they wanted and now they are back at EA, I bet they came up with a better contract so they (CEOS OF Respawn Studios) can now own they IPS they make.
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