THQ didn’t sign West and Zampella due to Respawn wanting to retain IP ownership

Friday, 14th January 2011 17:11 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


THQ’s Danny Bilson has said the ex-Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella would have been signed with the firm if not for the duo wanting to retain ownership of their own IP.

Speaking during THQ’s Games Day in New York, Bilson said this was the deciding factor for the two who formed Respawn Entertainment and subsequently signed on with EA Partners.

“I believe we have the best place to work for creative people,” Bilson told Eurogamer. “And if you ask those two guys you just mentioned where they would have preferred to work but for one deal point in a contract, they would have liked to join our team, too. But I couldn’t give them a certain thing that EA could in the deal.

“It has to do with IP ownership and some stuff around that.”

Zampella corroborated Bilson’s revelation to Wired, stating:. “It should come as no surprise that, after Activision fired us in March 2010, the other major videogame publishers contacted Jason and me about working with them. I’ve known Danny Bilson for many years, so THQ was one of the publishers who approached us. 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.”

Bilson went on to tell Eurogamer that the firm had better luck signing on Ubisoft’s Patrice Désilets, who is now the studio head at THQ Montreal.

“What we did was build a culture and a system that supports creative first. That’s all we did,” said Bilson, explaining how the firm retained Désilets. “We said, ‘We’re going to support your vision and we’re going to build out from that. We’re not going to impose our vision on you.’”

In other Games Day news, THQ announced today it was to release DLC for its upcoming shooter, Homefront, on Xbox 360 first and that the platform would also have an exclusive map.



  1. theevilaires

    Smart move guys…..I mean West and Zampella. THQ sucks….except for Darksiders….part 2 is a day 1 buy :D

    #1 4 years ago
  2. KrazyKraut

    ehh…sorry folks…but I mean, they said no. Is that bad? Look what happend to other IPs.. Dead Space, Call of Duty. If you invent/create something its your baby.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. theevilaires

    ….and thats why David Jaffe left SONY and why Ted Price would probably never sign a deal to become one of their 1st party studios. If I put all the work and effort into making something that will sell millions you want to be the sole owner of that. Its common sense….its the fucking American way dude!

    #3 4 years ago
  4. mattrobbo670

    they wanted to do this because they are fighting activision for intellectual property, basically over who owns the call of duty franchise they created it but activision owned it so they lost I’m sure they just didn’t want to have the same thing happen again, they have found the perfect place EAP

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Crysis

    @TEA, Insomniac does not own Resistance or Ratchet, owning the IP has very little to do with why Insomniac is (to some extent) an independent developer.
    The main advantage for a developer to own their own IP is that they can auction it off if they go bust, well they do get some creative control over it, but the publisher ALWAYS has the last word.
    Just that both West & Zampella got too big for their own boots, that’s what cause this whole incident, they signed contracts to work on something they didn’t like, well unfortunately that’s life.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. theevilaires

    I know that. To Ted it was just a hired job and I highly doubt if SONY wanted to acquire Insomniac Ted would decline because he probably prides himself on being independent when there are less and less like his company in the industry.

    I never said he owned them. I said he would never make a deal to become a 1st party dev for SONY. Stop reading what you want to read and read it right assuie boy.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Crysis

    I think you got lost in your own point their TEA, this entire article was about West & Zampella not joining THQ because (key words here:) WEST & ZAMPELLA WANTED TO RETAIN THE IP OWNERSHIP, then you say that’s why Jaffe left sony & Price would never become one of Sony’s first party studios.
    I think for both it’s more to do with being independent more than anything, not wise for an independent developer to own IP, i believe it’ll cause too much friction between the dev execs & the publisher & in rare cases where a publisher hasn’t signed off on distributing the IP, it could become a very large financial burden.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. theevilaires

    Umm no kid Jaffe said it himself he stood outside the midnight launch for God of War2 and felt depressed because he knew Sony was going to reap the rewards ti the game he made. Thats when he decided to go independant. He wants to own his own ip rights to the games he makes. Just like these too guys.

    Ted price an already independant studio more than likely never wants to be owned but have no issue making other games for whoever. To them its just money I guess. They rather be free and independant. Also I didnt read the whole debacle about the EA partnership but isn’t the deal like they will publish the gameyou still get to keep the ip rights but they want a cut or something. Isn’t that what Bungie/Insomniac/and Respawn are doing?

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Crysis

    Not sure if Bungie & Insomniac own the IP they will be working on. EA seems to be very flexible on IP ownership so it would not surprise me if they did.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. JonFE

    EA seems to be very flexible on IP ownership…

    I’d assume, EA would do anything to sign West and Zampella, given their previous record…

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Crysis

    I would actually half expect Respawn to flop, especially if it’s just another generic fps… well not quite true, generic tends sells very well these days, but aren’t people getting sick of paying for the same game over & over again where the main difference is the title?

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Johnny Cullen

    @9 Bungie and Insomniac maintain control of the IPs they are making with EA Partners and Activision.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. SwiftRanger

    EA Partners has allowed for many independent studios to thrive but just as many have utterly failed (Flagship, Black Hole, etc.), IP-ownership or not, in the end everything still comes down to everyone (publisher and developer) being on the same line about the game and timely spotting flaws in a design. EA Partners has never done the latter.

    THQ has done a great job in the last few years, especially after their crisis. The way they’ve built up their in-house teams again is stunning and doesn’t compare to what EA or Activision have done (those big boys are constantly shuffling). I can definitely understand why they would want to keep hold of the IP, they’ve already lost Stalker, SupCom and other dev IPs that way while they invested a lot of money and effort into those franchises.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. DSB

    @11 The problem isn’t so much the generic shooters or the mass production studios, but more that few others can really top what they’re doing.

    It’s not exactly hard to compare a highly scripted, garish action movie formula like the ones Zampella and West practically invented, to that of the competition in form of Battlefield or Medal of Honor. Just count the number of insane explosions, lame machismo voiceovers, the gore, the flash and the bang.

    Until someone creates a greater show, that’s where people are gonna be.

    No use pretending like consumers should be something they’re never going to be. They aren’t supposed to match any minority’s refinement or their subjective bullshit standards, they’re just simply always going to go for what’s more appealing at any given time.

    #14 4 years ago

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