West And Zampella Almost Respawned At THQ

West And Zampella Almost Respawned At THQ
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Jason West and Vince Zampella, the creative minds behind the Call of Duty franchise now have a publishing deal with EA, but apparently they were extremely close to setting up a publishing deal with THQ.

Apparently the only thing holding the duo back was THQ’s insistence that they own the any Intellectual Property that Respawn created. According to Danny Bilson, Vice-President of THQ’s core-gaming division, that was only bullet point between them.

“My responsibility to our stockholders and to my CEO and the company is to build an IP library,” claimed Bilson, who feared that allowing Respawn to own their IP might make negotiations with other studios difficult in the future.

THQ, bolstered by recent critical and commercial success, appear to be making grand steps towards becoming one of the top publishers in gaming. After recruiting Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets to help head up a new Montreal based THQ-studio, and head hunting other Ubisoft staffers in the process, it appears that THQ, as a company, has complete confidence in their ability to compete with the Activisions and EAs of the industry.

It’s going to be a big year for THQ, with De Blob, Homefront, and Red Faction Armageddon all releasing before the 2nd quarter of 2011. The news that Volition will be working on a new IP with Guillermo Del Toro is yet another sign of THQ’s bullish attempts to make themselves one of the most successful publishers in gaming.

It’ll be interesting to see how the next couple of years play out.

‘Deal-Breaker’ Kept THQ From Signing Call of Duty Creators at Respawn [Wired]


  • A few months ago I was all “woo! go west and Zampella!” for sticking it to activision… then I realised that they just make dull by-the-books military shooters and stopped giving a f**k.

    Seriously, these guys a easily replaced. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there can make a stock standard FPS, funny thing is that now they’ve left IW they don’t have the COD brand boosting sales and as such will no longer have anywhere near the undeserved success they were experiencing (same goes for COD in general really).

    • Same here! When I read about it in GameInformer I was thinking yeah suck it Activition. But then release that they don’t give a f**k about the game only the money.

      MW2 is the last CoD I am buying and I refuse to buy any Respawn games.

  • I feel for Bilson in this.

    He strikes me as a decent guy, who wants to make THQ the go-to for talent… but he’s right.
    A good publisher needs to own the IP’s, it gives them security.

    EA may be attracting brands with the partners program… and maybe allowing developers to hold onto their IP’s will be enough to keep them around. We’ll see in the next few years.

    • i don’t think the developers need to hold the IP,

      But i think the publisher and the Developer should both have creative control over it, so if the developer says no we only want our studio to work on it or we don’t want yearly sequels thats there option, then if something like the Split happens we get one member from each party put em in the thunderdome winner gets to buy out the other’s share in the IP

      i still reckon its one of the reason Mass effect 2 went so shooter-y because at the time EA didn’t have a shooter to speak of really sure BF2 was still there but it’s non exsistant for console gamers

    • I could understand a publisher wanting a right of first refusal to publish sequels, but do they really need to own the copyrights and trademarks for the game? Book publishers don’t demand those rights from authors, so it isn’t obvious that they need the rights.

      It is certainly in the publishers best interests if they can convince the developer to give up those rights, but it is also clear that a developer is likely to be better off if they can retain those rights.

      • The big difference is that in the game business, it’s usually the publisher that pays for development. There are some independent developers that fund their own work (e.g. Valve, Epic) and they do get to hold onto their own IP. But if you go to a publisher asking them to fund development then your bargaining position isn’t strong. After all, if they’re putting up the money then they’re taking on the risk, so they’re going to want ownership of whatever gets created.

  • Is it wrong for me to apply the hand-on-crotch racist foul-mouthed attitudes of the mouth-breathing CoD XBox Live players to these two people? I dislike them. I dislike their arrogance. I dislike their games and their cockiness. I bet they are insufferable in person. Like bitchy rock stars, only as you say, making and remaking the same game over and over.

  • More power to em, developer’s don’t hold enough sway, publishers pretty much run the gaming business, taking massive slices of the profits and leaving very little for those actually make the great games we know.

    here’s hoping their new IP can be something other than a generic military shooter.

  • Danny Bilson seems like a generally nice guy in an industry filled… How should I say this? Not very nice people =P

    He seems like the type of guy if you asked him to help you move out of your house he’d give you hand and say no thanks if you tried to give him something as a thank you.

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