Respawn Entertainment loses Jason West, co-creator of Call of Duty


Jason West (left) and Vince Zampella (right)

EA didn’t have many major announcements at its E3 2012 press conference, but it did talk plenty of trash, most notably when it pointed out “good friends” Jason West and Vincent Zampella in the audience, congratulating the two game designers while not outright saying what the kudos were for. Everyone in attendance understood though. Just days before the conference, the two designers had received a massive settlement from their former employer Activision Blizzard, ending a dispute over the duo’s signature creation Call of Duty. EA’s congratulating West and Zampella was also a bit of self-praise since the duo had, since leaving Infinity Ward in 2011, signed on with EA to make a new game under the name Respawn Entertainment. That game is coming still, but one of those creators won’t be working on it at all.

Kotaku reported on Sunday that Jason West has retired from the video game industry to devote more time to his family. More surprisingly, West had already left Respawn Entertainment by the time E3 2012 had started, splitting from the studio on good terms as soon as he and Zampella’s legal dispute with Activision was over.

Given how committed West was to the creation of Respawn’s first game, a whole new series, it’s surprising to hear that he is no longer involved with the studio. Digital Trends last spoke with West in April 2012, just weeks before he reportedly left his company. He discussed the fact that while big budget games, like publishing partner EA’s Dead Space and Mass Effect series, rely on multimedia releases with comics, cartoon, and other tie-ins, Respawn was focused on just making a good game.

With or without West, that game is going to debut at E3 2013 during the EA press conference. Zampella tweeted on Feb. 25 that his company would be at the convention, and Respawn later confirmed to us that EA will be booking appointments and scheduling interviews for the studio during the coming event, suggesting that the game will have a significant presence. As of this writing though, EA and Respawn have both refused to comment on West’s status with the studio.