Sacked Call of Duty Makers Form 'Respawn Entertainment,' Sign With EA Partners

By Alice O'Connor and Chris Faylor, Apr 12, 2010 6:43am PDT The recently-sacked Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella today announced they have formed a new development studio 'Respawn Entertainment' and signed an exclusive publishing agreement with IW owner Activision's rival EA Partners.

"Respawn Entertainment marks a fresh start for Jason and me," said Zampella. "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 Respawn president West. "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."

The announcement stresses that "the move positions the Respawn Entertainment leadership team as the owners of the intellectual property they create"-- an important issue considering that the Call of Duty co-creators are currently suing Activision for control of the monster-selling Modern Warfare brand they worked on at Infinity Ward.

Activision has claimed in its counter-sue that the pair plotted to "steal the studio... at the expense of Activision and its shareholders and for their own personal financial gain."

"This is the start of a great publishing partnership - one that I expect will develop blockbuster game franchises," said EA Partners president Frank Gibeau in the announcement. "Jason and Vince are two of the top creative leaders in the entertainment industry. At EA, we're honored to be their partners and to give them the support they need to hire a team and return to making incredible games."

Respawn Entertainment is now hiring "a world-class team of designers, artists and engineers" for a new property, accepting resumes at jobs@respawn.com.

[Update 12:00pm CST - CF]: Activision has officially chimed in, stating that "this agreement comes as no surprise to Activision given the myriad of improper activities detailed in the cross-complaint filed on Friday against Jason West and Vince Zampella."

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