This weekend, Jason West and Vince Zampella’s Facebook page turned 10 words into thousands of theories, as the duo claimed something big was coming.
“Big time announcement at E3 next week. stay tuned, kiddies!”, the message stated. Although short and simple, the post has our attention.
When former Infinity Ward president Jason West and CEO Vince Zampella- responsible for the best-selling Modern Warfare series- were ousted from Activision, everyone knew they would land on their feet. After all the duo was responsible for one of the best selling and most influential video game franchises of all time, so odds were that every publisher in the industry would be trying to woo the pair.
Following their firings, West and Zampella filed suit against Activision, which resulted in a countersuit. These lawsuits were just the beginning of a series of moves that seem more at home in a Hollywood drama than in the video game industry. Infinity Ward employees began to leave in droves, at first seemingly in protest to West and Zampella’s firing (but possibly to take up new positions at West and Zampella’s new studio that had not yet been debuted). Next, EA announced that it had signed West and Zampella to a publishing deal that gave them incredible freedom by industry standards. The announcement was made on April 12, and the new company was named Respawn Entertainment.
Following the announcement of the new deal, Activision essentially said “told you so”, claiming that the main reason West and Zampella were fired was due to their under the table negotiations with other publishers- including EA. EA replied with the equivalent of a befuddled and good natured shrug that would have made Jimmy Stewart proud, as the publishing giant claimed innocence and shock at the accusation. EA claimed that the deal was simply there and they took it. The lawsuits will likely shed more light on this.
Another lawsuit soon followed, but this time it was from the employees of Infinity Ward, claiming that Activision was withholding nearly $125 million in promised bonuses in order to force workers to continue work on the next Modern Warfare game. Following the suit, Infinity Ward lost nearly 40 members of its staff that was at slightly over 100 at the beginning of the year, and the vast majority of those employees found a new home at Respawn which further caused Activision to point a righteous finger at the new developer, while Respawn silently replied with a different finger of their own as they welcomed the familiar faces to their new offices.
And now we have the news that Respawn will be at E3 to make an announcement. The Facebook post is vague enough that the announcement may not be a game at all, but what other “big time” announcement could it be? A series of new hires or a partnership of some sort, perhaps? Possibly a new logo? Neither would seem to be big enough to warrant an E3 announcement, but possibly. The most likely announcement would be a new game, but again, this is all supposition based on a very brief Facebook post.
Although it makes sense for the dup to officially debut their new company at the biggest video game expo in the world, the speed with which they went from fired to announcing new games (we assume) is astounding. To put it in perspective, Resapwn Entertainment does not even have a logo yet, and its official website simply has the name and a link to an email address to inquire about jobs. So the speed is somewhat remarkable. In fact it is so remarkable that you can expect a few of Activision’s lawyers to be in attendance taking notes.
E3 begins next week, and we will be covering this announcement, and all the others from LA.
Will Respawn announce a new game at E3, and if so, are you excited? Sound off below.