Very Modern Warfare: Respawn Partner EA

By Kieron Gillen on April 13th, 2010 at 11:36 am.

It's as if I designed a website. Except I'd add nob gags.

Shortly after the news of the legal barrage starting, news breaks that the ejected Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella have formed a new company – the wittily named, minimialistically site-d Respawn – which will partner with EA to produce their next game. Eurogamer’s long interview with West and Zampella reveals few facts – there’s much they can’t comment on, either due to legal reasons or because their company hasn’t even offices or staff yet – but manages to entertainingly capture the mood of the pair right now. The key fact is: whatever they create will be theirs, rather than the publisher’s. But what to expect? “Well, we hope that it will be a fresh and new experience that will surprise people, but we’re not going to make Boom Blox or something, it’s going to be a big huge game,” says West. I dare speculate that it’ll involve a weapon sticking out of the bottom right of the screen.

, , .

57 Comments »

  1. tome says:

    This most has me amused greatly, not least due to the last line.

  2. LewieP says:

    As a side note, both Boom Blox games are actually really good.

    • Clovis says:

      Yeah, what’s up with that? I wish they would make something like Boom Blox. Who doesn’t like throwing things at things? Nah, how about another corridor shooter?

      Oh noes, a game featuring cute characters, must just be for the kiddies. Video games for adults should be serious business!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Ooooh, there was a second one?

      I mean the PC is great, but the Wii still does two things the PC (and until Xbox and PS3 release their next thing) doesn’t do. Y’know, with the multiplayer and the motion control.

      And besides, Boom Blox is a terrific game, especially at parties where everyone has been drinking.

    • Wulf says:

      @DJ Phantoon
       
      I disagree.
       
      The thing is, the PC can do (and has done) everything the Wii can do. In fact, use the open source drivers for the Wii remote along with a Wii emulator and you have an authentic Wii experience on the PC. This isn’t designed to sleight the Wii, because that’s not my intention, but what you said is exactly the kind of attitude we don’t want.
       
      There is nothing the PC cannot do that another format can do, but the belief that the PC cannot do it, or the belief that the PC shouldn’t do it stifles originality and creativity on our home platform. Boom Blox and other titles would do just as well on the PC. What we want to be doing is encouraging creativity on the PC, as opposed to convincing people that original, innovative titles are better suited to the Wii, because that’s simply not true.
       
      The PC is literally the hub of everything because it’s an open platform, anyone can choose to develop whatever hardware and software they want for the PC, they can even release their games without a publisher, without needing to go through a gateway, without having to deal with a manufacturer (i.e., consoles), and thus the PC is the most welcoming of any platform.
       
      So yes, developers, please pay attention to the not to the Wii but the PC. Ignore the console toys for a bit and pay attention to our wonderfully open platform, a platform where you can craft your dreams and you’ll surely find an appreciative audience, and–unlike the consoles–a supportive online community.

  3. Brumisator says:

    Meh, makers of big-budget overhyped boring games intend on making a new big-budget overhyped boring game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      +1 Comment of the day?

    • 3klsadjgklmw says:

      I’m excited to find out if the mistreatment of PC gamers on Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2 was indeed Kotick’s choice or the heads of IW.

      Who to hate? You don’t know for sure.

    • Rich says:

      I guess we’ll find out with Respawn’s first release. If it has leaning, then it was all Activision’s fault.
      “Must always have a perfect internet connection or you die”-style DRM may be attributed to EA if it occurs. Anyone playing C&C4?

    • suibhne says:

      @3kls: Rumors have been flying for a few months that the PC version of the next CoD game, developed by Treyarch, will once again offer dedicated servers…so Activision has apparently relented on this point, if it was indeed their fault rather than IW’s.

      Some of the massive problems with MW2 are due to the lack of dedicated servers: laughable server performance, significant host advantage, and high frequency of cheaters. (You might say that the terrible matchmaking system is related, too, tho Bowling and IW always missed the point that they could’ve easily implemented a matchmaking system alongside dedi servers.) Still, those are only some of MW2′s faults, and magically restoring dedi servers wouldn’t fix the bland MP maps, ridiculously bad game balance, or utterly inane SP narrative. Even if you blame Activision for the server sitch, the rest of this sordid mess is surely IW’s fault and doesn’t bode well for the quality of Respawn’s eventual output.

    • Joras says:

      In their defense, IW was completely uninterested in doing MW2, but Activision got them to do it by throwing large wads of cash at them. I suppose you could say that their heart really wasn’t in MW2.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “got them to do it by throwing large wads of cash at them”

      My heart bleeds.

      I mean, seriously. That’s got to be the best method of coercion ever.

    • Wulf says:

      “I suppose you could say that their heart really wasn’t in MW2.”

      That’s pretty much what the game felt like when I had a go of it on a friend’s 360, it was a fairly soulless and empty thing, it was like they’d sat Call of Duty and an Ardat-Yakshi down in the same room. The leftover remains ended up becoming that game.

      It’ll be interesting to see what they do when they’re given a hands-off approach, but thus far I’m really not convinced that many of their woes were down to Activision, as questionable as Activision can be I doubt they imposed things like level design, boring maps, and No Russian on them. Only time will tell, I suppose.

  4. Tusque d'Ivoire says:

    maybe it’ll feature a left-handed toggle, like original half life. then there’ll be guns sticking out the bottom LEFT hand of the screen.

    I do hope it will become a pretty popular Multiplayer Shootey type of game. I have never been into those much, but i would like to invest in one which sticks around for some time (so i can become good at it, for once). also, they seem to be making a lotta money these days, so it’s very probable!

  5. terry says:

    Activision’s going to need security just to keep IW staff IN.

    • Wulf says:

      That or just leave friendly bags of unmarked cash at their doors each day.

  6. Baboonanza says:

    ‘I dare speculate that it’ll involve a weapon sticking out of the bottom right hand of the screen.’

    Maybe what they mean by a ‘fresh and new experience’ is that this time you’ll be playing a left-handed soldier. The gun will be in the bottom left of the screen!

    • Auspex says:

      Billy the Kid: The Game

    • Auspex says:

      Someone had just alerted me to the fact that it is a common misconception that Billy the Kid was left-handed…

      If that is the case I offer my apologies to anyone I may have mislead.

    • Auspex says:

      *Misled.

      (Please bring back the edit function)

  7. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Well, from looking in the website source code and at the content generator used to produce that fantastic page, we know they will be doing games for the Mac.

    … OK, I’m being annoying. I’ll shut up. :)

  8. mbp says:

    Where does that put Battlefield Bad Company? At the moment it is the only real competition to MW2 and I imagine the folks at EA digital illusions are going to be a bit miffed when they realise they are no longer EA’s premier FPS division.

    Mind you as a dyed in the wool PC gamer the whole MW2 brand and everyone associated with it including West and Zampella leave a nasty taste in my mouth. There are no good guys in this sordid little affair but if I had to take sides I would prefer to see Bobby Kottick and Activision Blizzard lose. If there is any justice A/B will lose a fortune trying to develop MW3 (4, 5, 6 ) without West and Zampella. Sour grapes I know and probably not going to happen but I can dream …

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    rps exclusive no weapon handedness switch in new Respawn Game!

  10. Unrein says:

    Teamkilling is a bitch, eh?

  11. Larington says:

    Fairly sure I remember reading about how they wanted to do a futuristic (or maybe near futuristic) shooter instead of another Modern Warfare, my guess would be something along those lines from respawn entertainment.

    • DMJ says:

      I could really go for a Modern Warfare: 2142 game. Stupid gung-ho tape-down-the-LMB-to-maximise-firepower single player and Titan mode in multiplayer. Come on developers of the world, make it happen!

  12. The Sombrero Kid says:

    btw this could actually be really bad for the games industry, with this iw stuff and the use by date on wow coming up, activision are basically relying on blizzards next 2 games to keep them in the massive publisher game, it’s likely they’ll be crushed under the weight of their merger leaving EA in an even more powerful position than they were before the merger which would hurt competition. although bobby kottick and his mob can burn in hell.

  13. Alexander Norris says:

    The irony inherent in the IW founders having left EA in the first place to form IW under Activision is pretty hilarious.

    Anyway, their first action had better be apologising to everyone about Modern Warfare 2′s lack of dedicated servers. If it isn’t, they’re just going to continue making console games badly ported across to PC, and I won’t be interested.

    (Of course, they’re not going to apologise, so I won’t be interested.)

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I never followed that piece of news too well, since the game never interested me. But wasn’t the lack of dedicated servers on the PC version of that game a decision forced by Activision? A publisher usually has a strong say in exactly that type of thing.

      But don’t take my question the wrong way. IW games never interested me in the least. I’m just curious if that was indeed entirely their fault.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Thermal Ions says:

    Well sounds like it won’t be a turn-based role-playing game

    “when Kotaku jokingly suggested to the two men who have made their career creating military first-person shooters that they might make a turn-based role-playing game next, all we got was laughter – and a mock suggestion that it’ll be in a browser.”
    http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/04/ex-modern-warfare-creators-havent-hatched-new-game-idea-yet-wont-be-making-battlefield/#comment-109730

  15. Clovis says:

    Respawn? Yikes, they should have just named themselves “Monster Closets”.

  16. Sobric says:

    @ Mario

    I don’t think we know for sure whether it is Activision’s move or IW’s, that’s the point. It does stink of publisher bullying, but we can’t be 100% that it is all A/B fault.

    @ Alexander

    They should be given the rights to the next MoH game… It is good to know, however, that the splash they made with CoD when it first came out could be a good sign of what they are producing next.

  17. Mr Lizard says:

    It’ll end in tears.

  18. Paul Moloney says:

    I played a bit of the MW2 free multiplayer on Steam over the weekend, and really, it was underwhelming. It felt exactly like MW1, and even looked the same. Am I missing the changes?

    And if anything, it felt even more unfair than MW1. Oh look, here’s the killcam showing me getting killed by a MINIGUN FROM A FRICKING AIRPLANE.

    On the other hand, it was easy enough to jump into a game (however, since I never found the MW1 server browser in any way a chore, I’m complete agnostic on whether that’s a pro or con).

    P.

  19. Duck says:

    Hey guys, just to remind everyone, Vince Zampella was the exact same guy who, in a Developer Chat one month before MW2 was released, said “sure, MW2 has exciting PC-only features like in-game text chat, mouse and keyboard support, and the ability to change the graphics settings.”

    So either he was being forced to say such ridiculous drivel by Activision (and is therefore a sellout who had to get fired in order to start something new) or he really believes in it himself and his next game is going to be another “band of calling duty brothers of honor medals”.

  20. Arsewisely says:

    D’ya think if I emailed them my CV they’d employ me? I can’t really do anything but I could certainly believe in them and all that Jerry McGuire donkey shit.

    If they curl out another MW-esque success then – ker-ching!!

  21. rocketman71 says:

    So, are they still going to be dedicated to making games?.

    Probably not for the PC.

  22. Uhm says:

    A gun sticking out of the screen is pretty aggressive marketing.

  23. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    “I think the analogy that we could use is that we’ve got Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo starting to play for a brand new football club and you’re wondering how many championships we’re going to win. Well, the odds are with those two superstars we’re going to have a pretty good team, but we need to fill out the rest of the line-up and then we need to move forward. I think that’s where the guys find themselves today.”

    superstars? I see modesty isn’t a key feature in these characters

    • Jad says:

      Well, that was the publisher PR person who said that, not Vince or Jason. A case of flattery rather than boasting.

      Of course, they are superstars — they made (or headed up the studio that made) one of the best selling videogames of all time. One of the best selling franchises across all entertainment — movies, music, books. The fact that they don’t have James Cameron-levels of fame comes down to 1) actually being somewhat more modest (than Cameron — they are not the most modest people in the world) and therefore doing relatively few interviews and 2) games still being in the “for children or nerds” ghetto.

  24. Tei says:

    MW2, I have played it this weekeend:

    For a game with lots of persistents attributes, unlocables and achievements, the game itself has not persistence at all. You play with a group of people, that you will never see again. The group create and recreate almost after every match, you often need to start the search from scratch. I don’t know, maybe this is what people want, but is a hell loot more time watching a screen searching for a game, than playing. The game itself is spawing, dying, respawing, dying, respawing, dying, .. you are supposed to feel leet if you kill more people than you get killed, or by scoring a killing spree (killing 5 people in a row). It looks to me like a game of luck, more than skill… but I suppose really good games can force that luck to his favour… but then is a victory of the inteligence of these players over a design of the game, that is designed “to make stupid people feel good about thenselves”.

    I can write a bot that just drop his grenades wen it respawn, and he will get levels automatically … maybe one of these japan toys that drink water and press a key.

    Also, I leveled to 70 in a week-end.. .weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

  25. Wordy says:

    If they want people who can sit there for 3 months and tell them everything they did wrong when making MW2, I’ll fire a copy of my CV off straight away. Experience includes paying out a considerably large sum of money for MW2 and subsequently becoming so enraged I threw a half-brick at a neighbour’s potted plant.

    Alternatively, if they just want people to clean up the mess left on the floor after Activision’s lawyers and hired goons have finished with them, then there’s a nice foreign lady who lives next door to me who knows her way around a mop and bucket (and also happens to be the owner of said broken plant pot).

  26. GODDAMNBOOSTERS!!! says:

    Fuck, maybe if they had stuck around long enough they could have solved the boosting issue.

    RPS, you guys should do something like these Wild Gunmen guys do and create a boosters list:

    http://wildgunmen.com/blog/2010/04/11/guys-like-these/

    Good read and I agree, I’m sick of boosters ruining my games.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Pretty fucking bad game design, to allow that.

      Hardly difficult to solve, though. Just remove this tactical insertion thingamabob.

  27. Pantsman says:

    This news has made my day considerably brighter. I am delighted, despite having skipped MW2.

  28. Frosty says:

    Does no one else find those last lines in the interview funny? Or at least telling? The guys don’t sound so free to me.

  29. poop says:

    suck my dick michael

  30. Zeddo says:

    Can anyone clarify – are these the same guys who started out as 2015 and made Allied Assault for EA, then jumped to Activision to curl out Call of Duties and are now back in the embrace of their former masters?

  31. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    I really don’t get those last two questions of the interview. They just seem rude and tacky.

    Bramwell basically puts them in a situation where they either have to (possibly falsely) endorse their former company who’s now a competitor, or not endorse them and alienate their old friends and potential future coworkers. All that while knowing they’re in a lawsuit with Activision and can’t say a thing about it besides.

    The first of the two is bad enough, but then trying to press the point? Especially phrasing it in a way that almost takes their “no comment” to mean “we don’t endorse them”?

    Thankfully those questions came at the end and not the beginning, or it might’ve been a pretty short and/or hostile interview.

  32. adam says:

    Maybe they should name it “Can’t Respawn”, due to their terrible multiplayer game design.

  33. party gowns says:

    I would hope to be back tracking. Thanks for the great write-up.