THQ Missed Respawn Deal over IP Ownership

By Steve Watts, Jan 14, 2011 1:20pm PST After the public falling out with Activision, Jason West and Vince Zampella almost signed to make its next game with THQ. THQ vice president Danny Bilson told Wired about the deal-that-almost-was at a recent game event.

"We were one deal point away from signing [Respawn]," he said. "I saw [West and Zampella] recently, and they said it was that only one deal point, one that I wouldn't cave on." Apparently the one point was the intellectual property. THQ was looking to build its IP library, and the newly formed Respawn refused to give up ownership of it.

Zampella confirmed Bilson's comments. "I've known Danny Bilson for many years, so THQ was one of the publishers who approached us," he said. "We had serious discussions with them. As for the IP ownership, frankly, after what we'd just been through with Activision, owning the IP we were going to create was important to us. Unfortunately, THQ did not want to agree to that."

Ultimately, EA Partners struck a deal with Respawn, agreeing to give the studio control over the IP. Bilson seems skeptical about EA's strategy, but says he's still interested in working with Respawn. "I love those guys, I respect those guys," he said. "Maybe down the road we can strike another deal somewhere where it goes our way."

We have to wonder how this revelation meshes with Activision's accusation of conspiracy from late last month. If Respawn was hearing offers from various publishers, it's hard to see how they were in cahoots with EA to ruin Infinity Ward all along. But maybe that's what they want you to think.

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  • EA is just a longterm publisher for Respwawn , nothing is EA's property , not the game , not the staff , not the studio , not the engine , not the coffee cups , not the floor , not the dust , not the grass out side , not the parkway , nothing. Ea has only a piece of paper that is called a "contract bla bla bla" which is a contract with Respawn Entertainment which GRANTS EA the right to be the exclusive publisher to upcoming Respawn Entertainment releases , the details of these contracts are probably not very popularly revealed (might be something in the investors info on ea.com and other reports) , we don't know how long it will last , to which year , we just know it's longterm ,

    IN the contract is probably details what EA is allowed for each party or in other words "contract terms" for parties , it depends on what OFFER from a list of services Respawn Entertainment took , it's not EA who gave Respawn rights LMAO , it's Respawn who agreed to EAPartners terms and it's offers which is a menu of different services a publisher provides to the developer , publisher is responsible for data collection , statistics (sales,online activity , how many have done this/that ) , marketing , promotions , other stuff , technical support help , global reach of the brand , taking care of foreign markets well and not leaving them out of the show (low or no availability of special bonuses and/or collectors editions in smaller countries)

    That is what EA Partners (a division of EA) will do for Respawn Entertainment , the contract also has term that i mentioned before , it's the timeframe , and if the both parties sign it , they must cooperate in the terms for that long and the termination is not possible normally , only if some special fail-safe terms have been written that on some "whatever" circumstances a contract can be broken/terminated. This is a complex pipeline of technical and business talk that is important to any studio , and early developers just don't understand the tricks behind contracts and the nice written political talk that is hard to understand and need an educated person to decipher it and tell you the meaning , the contract is like 10 or 50 paged paper , throught this paper , which is normally PRIVATE , are those terms agreed upon , as it was publicly revealed and you can see , Respawn will never gave up it's own IP , since the develeopers are EX-IW who sold them self out because of inexperience back then in 2003 , activision slowly taken everything from them including not paying the MW2 royalties , ofcourse it was cat and mouse , IW fucked AV back for messing with Grant Collier (probably , that was the guy that has one interview up , the guy went missing , he brags how good PC version of COD4 is and it really is) and since Collier left to unknonw , MW2 appeared , i think it was a bigger thing that we might seem , it was building up , and activision was probably angry and greedy didn't want to pay them royalties so IW hit back again until everything went nuts , if IW owned it's IP it would be a different story , a whole different story , but those guys have no chance but to make another studio , move on , and get a better legal/business deal that will keep them in control of the game for reaching technical exelence that's a developers dream , publishers only care about profit. ex-IW devs were being exhausted as you cen see , they just sat back for MW2 , they wanted to leave when grant collier left of course , it was long time ago but you'll never know the private fushus that went right after the cod4 release , i don't know , activision hired a killer for collier so AV didn't want to pay him royalties ? (that's weird idea)

    For the record , EA isn't giving Respawn anything , Respawn is the one who is partnering with EA for specified terms of publishing arrangement which is something i described earlies , EA has no control over anything , Respwan will make great games , and they'll be released when respawn think it's done , so when it's done , it's also less stresfull for the team.