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Respawn: IP ownership is empowering

Friday, 2nd September 2011 01:01 GMT By Brenna Hillier

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.

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19 Comments

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  1. xino

    that’s good man if people get to keep their IP.

    If some publisher owns your IP, they can continue to make money off it especially when that IP is well established.

    And it’s really a pain to let go of the great idea you thought off.

    One of the down side of the gaming industry.

    I hope this opportunity Respawn will be doing will stand out.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. cgalla2000

    I disappear for a few days and the spammers come out in force!

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Yoshi

    Best thing for a publisher to do is give a developer full IP ownership but restrict it so they can only make that IP when under their name ;) Freedom with a line

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Brenna Hillier

    @cgalla2000 I kind of like that one, more than the one that draws the house or the one with the OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS BUT ONCE thing. Still, I’ve kicked it in the balls now.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Aimless

    @4 I bet it isn’t as good as the one which essentially says, “I was molested on the way back from work. Was the dress from this website to blame?”

    I am paraphrasing, but not by much.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    This is great, just so long as it’s not the same vapid, yearly regurgitated piece of shit their last franchise was.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DSB

    I’m pretty sure the sort of creative freedom that owning the IP brings with it, is something that everyone can get behind. I just hope Respawn are able to create something great again.

    @3 So basically the exact same restrictions as when the publisher owns the IP? :P

    #7 3 years ago
  8. StolenGlory

    @6

    I don’t have a +1 button to press, but if I did I would have worn it out on that comment.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    @8 Why thank you. It’s always nice to have my genius appreciated.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    Now look what you did, SG.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. StolenGlory

    @10

    Indeed, I appear to have created a Stuart Campbell clone! *runs* :)

    #11 3 years ago
  12. ManuOtaku

    The bad thing about this post, is the game in question will be coming in a couple of years and not in a year or two, based on the slowly growing thing, but well i think good things takes some time to come ****shrugs****

    #12 3 years ago
  13. OrbitMonkey

    @6 That’s unfair. Their part of the franchise came out every other year, not yearly :)

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @13 Okay, the same vapid, bi-yearly regurgitated piece of shit their last franchise then.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. OrbitMonkey

    @14, No chance, West & Zampella do what they do. Like Michael Bay films, you like them or you don’t. Plus EA will won’t another shooter big gun to pitch against COD, so they’ll be pushing for a bi-yearly release at a minimum.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. DSB

    Well actually that’s the entire difference here.

    With Respawn owning the IP, they’re masters of their own house. Of course, once they sign a game with EA, then they have to deliver as per that agreement, but they can’t be forced to do anything. It’s a partnership, rather than a dictatorship. Respawn can wheel and deal, and with their pedigree, it pretty much means they can do whatever they like. If EA doesn’t want to play ball, they can threaten to go to 2K or THQ, who’d no doubt love to have them.

    Of course that’s leaving out a fairly important detail – Who paid for Respawn? Did Zampella and West have enough funds to do it on their own, did they get an advance on their new game, or does EA actually have a stake in the studio?

    I disagree with Michael, I think CoD is great, even if it hasn’t changed since the first one. There’s a reason why the first one blew people away when it came out, and why it hasn’t gotten boring for a lot of us.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. OrbitMonkey

    “There’s a reason why the first one blew people away when it came out, and why it hasn’t gotten boring for a lot of us.” – Amen to that ;)

    #17 3 years ago
  18. StolenGlory

    Well, MW3 will be my first proper foray into the madness of CoD MP and by the looks of it, it seems like a decent place to start :)

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DSB

    We can only hope. I’m highly skeptical at this point, but I’m definitely gonna give it a go.

    #19 3 years ago