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Former Infinity Ward Bosses Sign With EA 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the crossing-enemy-lines dept.
BanjoTed writes "MCV has revealed that Jason West and Vince Zampella – the former bosses of Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward – have opened a new studio and signed a publishing deal with Activision's fierce rival EA. The news comes amidst the backdrop of the increasingly bitter legal dispute between the pair and the owners of their former studio. It's the most astonishing development yet in what is inevitably going to end up as a very bloody saga." Their new studio is called Respawn Entertainment. West and Zampella spoke about the situation in an interview with Eurogamer.
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Former Infinity Ward Bosses Sign With EA

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:29AM (#31829282)

    I've seen fire and I've seen rain. But the amount of work game programmers put in, and for such meager rewards in most cases, makes me raise a pint or 4 to them.

    Publishing houses are the same as record companies. Suck promising little guys in, work them to death, and make tons of money off the talent. Ask Ziggy Gold Dust how much trickles down to the ones doing the grunt work. How many years of youth are lost to endless deathmarches?

    Here's to you, guys.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      +1
      I always wanted to be a game developer. The sad truth is, after seeing how many of them come out with a degree and don't even end up in work, and those who do get a job but makes a meager earning, I decided on software engineering instead. I could work in the games industry, but I doubt I would, the margins are just too low. My hat goes off to those guys that do.
      • Posted as AC for some reason..?
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I'm not the AC you responded to, but even though I have read this site for 10+ years, I still don't have an account. Why bother?

      • by patm1987 (773851) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:19AM (#31829978)
        I don't consider myself the best programmer, but I graduated last May and by September had a decent job as a game developer at a fairly decent pay. Don't let what other people tell you get you down (I sat through a lot of programmers telling me that it was a joke career path, but it's just the right combination of math, physics, and code to keep me excited even when I have to put in the long hours).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192)

          I sat through a lot of programmers telling me that it was a joke career path....I have to put in the long hours

          So, they were right? Youthful exuberance might keep you going today, but eventually you're really going to want that 40 hour week.

    • I've seen fire and I've seen rain. But the amount of work game programmers put in, and for such meager rewards in most cases, makes me raise a pint or 4 to them.

      So you're raising a pint or a half gallon to them because they've just left one evil company for a seemingly more evil company [slashdot.org]? Don't get me wrong, they should be well paid by now and if they aren't they are free to leave. But you're kind of overlooking the risks associated with publishing games. Some are bombs and very unenjoyable. Developing games is certainly close to the entertainment arm of coding. You make coders do a lot of work and it either pays off huge or (and this is the most common scenari

      • If it was a matter of these two excelling individuals not being paid enough, they should put MW & MW2 on their resumes and leave it behind them. If they are so talented, any game development firm will hire them on the spot for gainful employment...

        You mean like what just happened including a cool one million dollar signing bonus, only without the "leaving it behind them" part?

        • Am I the only one that doesn't see where it is a problem that they would court other job offers?

          I mean, seriously, if they are being offered better money to go develop games for another company, why should they be prevented from seeking gainful employment there? That kind of contractual obligation means that programmers might not get a raise, since their employer knows they can't leave, and isn't otherwise motivated to offer them anything more. Among other practices, like working them halfway past death for

          • by BobMcD (601576)

            Is there something I'm missing here? They apparently aren't allowed to discuss other employment with their coworkers? If that kind of infringement upon free speech actually wins in court, we have much more serious problems to worry about.

            I do agree with you, but I also understand the concern a little better than you are expressing it here.

            Imagine you are the development shop that is paying them for their passion and their talent. If you were paying for their labor it would be a non-starter, but you're not. These men are among the 'rock stars' of game development, and their paychecks include multiple zeros. You write those checks hoping to get as much value as possible for the investment, and in a completely honorable world this would be

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Norfair (845108)

        On the other hand, we may never see MW3

        Not a bad thing, as far I'm concerned. Good games don't need endless (often mediocre) sequels.

        • by deniable (76198) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:31AM (#31830080)

          On the other hand, we may never see MW3

          Not a bad thing, as far I'm concerned. Good games don't need endless (often mediocre) sequels.

          They went to EA.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by FlyingBishop (1293238)

            I expect it will be a lot like when Bertolt Brecht [wikipedia.org] fled the United States for the USSR. As a socialist, he had naturally run afoul of the House Un-American Activities committee.

            Now what's curious is that in Soviet Russia, only one style of theatre was allowed - Soviet Realism, which was very straight-laced simple stuff, and of course always portrayed the Communists in a good light. But the interesting thing is that not only did Brecht get away with a very heightened and unrealistic style (his trademark "Epi

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        because they've just left one evil company for a seemingly more evil company [slashdot.org]?

        No, he's celebrating them because they made a decision based on what's best for them.

        For some reason, I too often encounter developers who have some misguided loyalty to their company, as if it were somehow family, no matter how poorly they're being treated by their employer. I don't know if it's due to fear or if there's some more nefarious mind-fucking going on, because there's never any doubt that the company ver

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      "Programmers", you say? When's the last time you heard a programmer say "going forward"? I'd venture that this duo are doing the sucking in, rather than being the suckees. Er, suckers. But not the sucking-in suckers.

      Look, can you explain it in the form of an analogy featuring drunken cheerleaders? Also, expand on the sucking.

      • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:12AM (#31829916)

        Look, can you explain it in the form of an analogy featuring drunken cheerleaders? Also, expand on the sucking.

        OK, I'll try ...

        Two drunk cheerleaders are fixing their car ...
        Suzy: Gee, Tiffany, the vacuum leak in your fuel injectors really sucks!
        Tiffany: Not enough or we wouldn't be stranded, Suz!
        [giggles]
        Suzy: Why don't you trade in this Activision car for one from EA, Tiff?
        Tiffany: I would, but the EA version is just gonna be the same thing, only different.
        Suzy:: You mean like a clone?
        Tiffany: Worse, Suzy, like a sequel.
        Suzy: Ew, that sucks.
        Tiffany: Exactly.
        Suzy:: So what are you gonna do?
        Tiffany: I'm gonna keep using this one until something original comes out.
        Suzy: That could take forever, Tiff!
        Tiffany: I know, Suz, and that really sucks.
        Suzy:: Not as much as your vacuum leak!
        Tiffany: If only, Suzy. If only.
        [giggles]

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Your plot is good but your dialogue needs work. It should be more Valley Girl, like the film Clussless or Britney the cheerleader in Daria.

    • by easychord (671421)

      I somehow doubt that these two guys are tightening their belts or doing much grunt work.

    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      These guys are management, not guys down in the trenches doing the dirty work. They're not all that different from those above them and it's safe to say they were earning a pretty penny for their work. They may have had legitimate problems with Activation, but it's safe to say that their real motivation was money. EA was offering them more. They were likely bound by all kinds of contracts so there was no pretty way to break free and go work for a competitor.

      And I bet you they're going to continue churning o

    • I've seen fire and I've seen rain. But the amount of work game programmers put in, and for such meager rewards in most cases, makes me raise a pint or 4 to them.

      Publishing houses are the same as record companies. Suck promising little guys in, work them to death, and make tons of money off the talent. Ask Ziggy Gold Dust how much trickles down to the ones doing the grunt work. How many years of youth are lost to endless deathmarches?

      Here's to you, guys.

      very very long time...

  • by Mabbo (1337229) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:44AM (#31829380)
    ... then EA will gladly pick them up. Both are mega corporations who've forgotten what 'fun' and 'creative' mean, and both are busy trying to scrape every last penny out of consumers that they can. That said, if EA is willing to back up two very creative guys who can come up with games like COD, then I'm all for that. In 3 years, we may see something pretty amazing, or we may find out the Infinity Ward consisted of more than just two guys.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bluesatin (1350681)

      EA has been getting better recently, with titles like Mirror's Edge.

      The problem being that after a moment of genius, they relapse, meaning they'll probably develop a 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc.; bleeding the series dry.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:48AM (#31831768) Journal

      That said, if EA is willing to back up two very creative guys who can come up with games like COD

      How creative was that really? Medal of Honor did the dramatic war sim first, and it was at least as good. I never understood why CoD got all the attention.

      • Better control scheme in my opinion.
      • That said, if EA is willing to back up two very creative guys who can come up with games like COD

        How creative was that really? Medal of Honor did the dramatic war sim first, and it was at least as good. I never understood why CoD got all the attention.

        maybe that's because you never played it properly? i find it very exhilarating and exciting. and graphics do matter. the photorealism increases enjoyment. also the bomber level in which you drop bobs from above is very very similar to what happens in real life. most people won't be able to tell apart a real video from a real bomber airplane and mw gameplay.
        medal of honor just did not have the graphics needed to pull off a good fps. so, contrary to your thinking, mw was creative. they made a game that did so

  • I definitely didn't see this coming.

    You'd think after Activision's suit alleged that the pair had "been flown to a North American location to meet with a competitor" that they would've kept under the radar a bit, but I guess not.

  • ...There are too many rumors flying around to actually know who's in the right here. It's easy to bet on the big corporation being greedy / evil / stupid. But *if* these guys did start talking to EA or other potential partners while still on Activision's payroll, they could be in breach of contract (at least if I understood industry expert Keith Boesky [blogspot.com] correctly).
  • Boss fight! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:15AM (#31829562) Homepage

    *Cue special music*

    Boss fight!!!

    • Oh. I see what you did there.

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      I was about to say, now there is a game I would love to play...

      Then I thought about it some more and realized it would be mostly composed of fat white guys throwing money and occasional lawyers at each other stomping across the workplace like Godzilla crushing the dreams (and bodies) of the little workers...

      and it made me sad. Perhaps if there was a finishing move it would make me happy.

  • "We really thought the EA Partners would give us the freedom and independence we needed to make great games."

    Um, what? You do know EA is an equally large and corporate entity as Activision, right?

    "We own the IP, so we can make sure it's treated with the respect it deserves."

    Oh, score!

    Having the smaller Game Development studios own and manage their own IP is the only way to assure we can have a broad range of quality games without being completely sucked into the absolutely horrid profit mill of excessive se

  • I would imagine that their new contract with EA would include access to a high dollar team of lawyers.
  • Not again. (Score:3, Funny)

    by admica (1538673) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:51AM (#31830976)
    All I know is I'm not buying the next Call of Duty until I know it's not just another xbox port. Fool me once, shame on .. uh.. fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.
    • by Coopjust (872796)
      Replying to undo a mistaken downmod...sorry :p
    • by mjwx (966435)

      All I know is I'm not buying the next Call of Duty until I know it's not just another xbox port.

      I wont buy the last Call of Duty until I find out its not just a bad console port, without dedicated servers.

  • I'm hesitant to say too much about this case because there are a lot of rumors flying around. However, one thing that isn't getting much coverage in all of this is that these guys were apparently a couple of "divas". Very demanding, refusing to do what they were paid to, etc. If that is the case, then I fear that switching to a different publisher will only cause history to repeat itself for them. If they are indeed divas who refuse to do their job the way the people who fund them expect them to, then they
    • by Whomp-Ass (135351)

      Very demanding, refusing to continue to do what they do until they were paid what they were owed, etc.

      There, fixed that for you...

  • by PingSpike (947548) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:23AM (#31831342)

    I'm really confused now. Which group owns the rights to the name "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare"?

    Does the other group own the rights to the name "Modern Duty: Call of Warfare"?

    And which one is the one I gotta have right now!?

  • I really liked the rivalry between BFBC2 and MW2. Competition is a good thing. So now we are going to have MoH vs BF vs MW, two of which come from the same house.
  • With EA already publishing Medal of Honor and Battlefield. What sort of niche will Respawn have? Is there room for another FPS developer? Or will they develop yet another MMO? Their first title will be interesting.
  • "We're sick of dealing with corporate interference in our game design, pressure to produce endless sequels, and the online play being ruined. We're going to EA, where that stuff doesn't happen!"

  • So... they left Activision to go to EA. That's like dumping one psycho murderous crackwhore for her live-in sister who has super-AIDS. If they were trying to escape the shameless greed and sweatshop tyranny in search of artistic freedom and a healthier career path, they fucked up BIG TIME.

    They have the track record, couldn't they have found more respectful backers to start their own game house ?

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