Former Infinity Ward leads and Call of Duty developers Jason West and Vince Zampella have learned their lesson. The pair are intent on retaining ownership of the new IP Respawn is developing.
“I think one of the things that we’re setting out to do is empowering people here to have ownership in what they’re working on,” Zampella said in an interview with IGN.
“Respawn has ownership of the IP that we’re working on. So that empowers everyone here to feel more ownership and put more of themselves into it. We’re not the only studio that does that, but it’s a big part of what we’re trying to do.”
Asked what the two had learned from their troubled exit from Infinity Ward and Activision, West wryly commented:
“The biggest change for me is probably I know a lot more lawyers and they look over all the contracts. So that’s the biggest change for me.”
Respawn is yet to reveal its new project – almost certainly a shooter – which will be published by EA, but it is beginning to open up about its operations. The studio currently employ 55 full time staff, plus around five contractors – a sizeable team, although not the 100 plus AAA titles sometimes require.
“We’ll get bigger, but we’re slowing growing,” Zampella said.
“We had a growing spurt at the start. There was a lot of interest when we started up, and we’re hiring on now as we need. We’re pretty solid in every category, but there will be other needs. And we’re always hiring good engineers.”
“We have such a dense talent pool, and everyone at Respawn is really awesome,” West added.
“So we have the luxury of hiring slowly and being really picky. I think that’s one of the things that makes us different.”
West and Zampella, founders of one of the most successful studios in the world, were famously fired by Activision for allegedly fraternising with the enemy – entering business discussions with EA. The pair filed suit over allegedly unpaid Modern Warfare 2 royalties, immediately countered by a second suit from Activision. An ongoing legal battle is yet to settle the matter.