EA: We'll take a back seat at Respawn
Despite bankrolling and announcing new West/Zampella studio, publisher insists it will let talent "stay fiercely independent"
EA Partners has said that it will not interfere with the development process at Respawn Entertainment, the new studio established by sacked Infinity Ward employees Jason West and Vince Zampella.
That's despite EAP bankrolling the start-up and announcing the business on behalf of the high-profile developers, as they begin the process of staffing-up to and set their sights on creating blockbuster games to rival some of the biggest in the business.
"We're in the back seat advising when asked, we're not necessarily in the front seat grabbing at the wheel trying to make life more difficult," EA Partners general manager David DeMartini toldGamesIndustry.biz. "That's one of the key differences, we have taken more of a back seat to allow these developers to stay fiercely independent."
The lack of creative control was one of the reasons the developers were unhappy at Call of Duty studio Infinity Ward, and after Activision unceremoniously sacked the pair for "insubordination", the publisher claimed the pair were discussing leaving the team and establishing relationships with rival companies.
"It's a very close collaboration and as much as we'll have an opinion when they form their team and we'll have some ideas, they've got all control over where they go with their IP," offered DeMartini.
The EA Partner programme has proven very popular with independent studios that want to remain in control of their properties but need EA's muscle to reach global audiences. Crytek is currently working with EAP for sci-fi shooter Crysis 2, and the widely anticipated massively multiplayer crime game APB from Realtime Worlds is also part of the portfolio.
"We've got a long track record of a huge amount of success and pushing great games out," added DeMartini. "The core of all of these things is that it all starts with a great game and a great entertainment experience that delights people. That's what these guys specialise in and that's what we expect out of the partnership."
DeMartini also said that he wouldn't rule out West and Zampella collaborating with EA's internal development studios, and in the early days of Respawn all options are open.
"I don't know that there is any specific collaborations that will happen, but as is the case with our Partners programme, there is nothing that is ruled out. Anything we can do to facilitate their success, we're going to be open minded to doing."
The full interview with David DeMartini, and Respawn's Jason West and Vince Zampella, can be read here.