As their legal dispute with former employee Activision rumbles on, ex-Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella have announced the formation of an independent development studio.
West and Zampella, the Infinity Ward and Call Of Duty creators who were sacked from Activision last month amid allegations of "breaches of contract and insubordination”, have established California-based Respawn Entertainment.
The new studio has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing and distribution agreement with Activision’s chief rivals, EA, through the EA Partners program.
"Respawn Entertainment marks a fresh start for Jason and me," said Zampella, Respawn’s general manager. "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 West, who serves as Respawn’s president. "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 Frank Gibeau, president of the EA Games label: "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 honoured to be their partners and to give them the support they need to hire a team and return to making incredible games."
Following their dismissal from Activision, Zampella and West sued the Call Of Duty publisher for $36 million and control over the Modern Warfare franchise. Activision recently launched a counter-suit, claiming that the pair had attempted to “steal the [Infinity Ward] studio” and had held up pre-production of Modern Wafare 3.
All of our Activision and Zampella / West news coverage can be found here.