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When Vince Zampella and Jason West were fired from Infinity Ward and Activision, everyone waited to see where they would land. It didn’t take long before the duo, known for innovating the first person shooter genre with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, created their own studio called Respawn Entertainment. Since that time, Respawn tried to recreate that COD magic with their hit, robot-centric series Titanfall. While Titanfall 2 wasn’t a runaway financial success, it certainly built upon a well established reputation. Now that reputation belongs exclusively to Electronic Arts.
Only weeks after EA decided to shut down Visceral Games because their Star Wars title was floundering, the publisher has decided to spend up to $455 million to buy Respawn Entertainment. This probably creates a bit of disdain among Titanfall fans who recognize EA’s long history of purchasing studios and slowly assimilating them to be painfully similar. However for Respawn this is probably not the most shocking development in their short history. Respawn’s two Titanfall titles and their upcoming Star Wars game are all published by EA. And since Zampella and West probably don’t have a working relationship with Activision, that left few buyers who could shell out this kind of cash.
Respawn has some intense incentives, especially around Metacritic performances, for their future titles including Titanfall 3. Like with any EA studio, only results will convince the publisher to stay out of the developer’s hair. Let’s hope lessons were learned after Visceral or I’m afraid we’ll be repeating along worn out pattern.