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Standby for Titanfall: Electronic Arts acquires Respawn Entertainment

Titanfall was one of the best games on Xbox One during the console’s early days, and Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall 2 managed to build on everything that made the multiplayer great while also adding a fantastic campaign mode. Respawn’s talent hasn’t been lost on publisher Electronic Arts, which just agreed to acquire the studio for as much as $455 million.

“Respawn brings to EA the proven leadership and studio talent behind Titanfall and Titanfall 2, two of the most highly rated shooter titles in the last five years,” said the publisher in a press release. “The acquisition builds on a successful publishing partnership between Respawn and EA, which multiple projects currently in development — a new title in the Titanfall franchise, a game set in the Star Wars universe, and a VR gaming experience.”

This is the clearest indication Electronic Arts has given thus far that it intends to make Titanfall 3, as both Respawn’s Star Wars project as well as its Oculus Rift game were already announced.

The acquisition begins with a cash payment of $151 million, with up to $164 in stocks given to employees. Another $140 million could be given to the studio if it hits certain “performance milestones” over the next five years.

Kotaku reported that Electronic Arts’ decision to purchase the studio came after the publisher Nexon — who released the mobile Titanfall: Assault — had made its own acquisition offer. The performance milestones mentioned in the press release are allegedly related to Metacritic scores. This is relatively common practice, but has caused developers to miss out on serious cash in the past. Obsidian, for instance, was promised a royalty bonus by Bethesda if its game Fallout: New Vegas compiled an average score of 85, and it missed it by one point.

Earlier this year, the publisher had admitted that Titanfall 2 didn’t meet its sales expectations, though it stressed that the game’s high review scores would likely lead to sales over a longer period of time, rather than just at launch. It had stiff competition from EA’s own Battlefield 1, as well, which released just a week earlier. Still, Titanfall 2 has managed to keep its community together over a long period of time because of free content updates — while the first game had a season pass, Titanfall 2 did not.

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