Respawn Entertainment announced by ex-IW heads, partnering with EA

We learned on Friday that ousted Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella planned to have an announcement "very soon" concerning their "creative future" – and now, at 9am ET the following Monday, they've issued a press release announcing Respawn Entertainment, a new development studio that will give West and Zampella ownership of the games they create. "We have learned the hard way," Zampella told the LA Times, "that the best way to ensure the integrity and quality of your work and make sure the fans get what they deserve is to own the intellectual property."

But West and Zampella aren't going it alone; the pair have teamed up with (who else?) Electronic Arts through its EA Partners business. EA Games Label prez Frank Gibeau said, "This is the start of a great publishing partnership -- one that I expect will develop blockbuster game franchises ... At EA, we're honored to be their partners and to give them the support they need to hire a team and return to making incredible games." In addition to handling future publishing duties, EA is funding the new developer "with several million dollars in seed capital," LA Times reports. That's unusual for a developer that's retaining the intellectual property rights to its games. "What makes Vince and Jason's deal so ground-breaking is that EA is investing in them as individuals, not as part of a larger, established company," the pair's agent (and former Xbox pitchman) Seamus Blackley told the Times.

Of course, neither West nor Zampella would comment on what Respawn will be working on or what genre it might land in (military shooter, anyone?), but West did say it would be of the "huge, summer blockbuster" variety. Did you expect anything less?

[Update: Activision issued the following statement following the announcement of Respawn Entertainment: "This agreement comes as no surprise to Activision given the myriad of improper activities detailed in the cross-complaint filed on Friday against Jason West and Vince Zampella. We look forward to continuing to work with Infinity Ward's deep bench of proven talent on exciting new projects."]

[Update 2: We spoke with West and Zampella about Respawn – read our interview here.]

Source: Jason West and Vincent Zampella's new call of duty [LA Times]
Source: Jason West and Vince Zampella Form 'Respawn Entertainment' [press release]