EA Is Buying Titanfall Developer Respawn For Over $400 Million

Mega-publisher EA has purchased a new studio -- Respawn, the developer of Titanfall. The news comes just weeks after the publisher shuttered Visceral Games.

EA said in a press release that the deal is worth $US455 ($592) million, a number that includes cash, equity, and performance milestone payments.

Respawn staff have spent the past few weeks exchanging whispers about a potential sale, two sources said, although there was no concrete news until the studio informed employees about the deal in a meeting today.

Earlier this week, one source with access to some of Respawn's forthcoming plans sent us what they said was a version of the acquisition contract, which reveals that EA is paying over $US400 ($521) million for the Los Angeles-based studio.

According to various documents sent by that source, EA outbid the South Korean publisher Nexon, which publishes the Titanfall mobile game and had also made an offer to buy Respawn. EA had 30 days to match that offer, which they chose to do.

Respawn will also receive bonuses tied to Metacritic scores for both its upcoming Star Wars game and the unannounced Titanfall 3, according to that documentation.

Founded in 2010 by Call of Duty designers Jason Ward and Vince Zampella, Respawn won hearts with its first game, Titanfall, released in 2014 as an Xbox exclusive.

The second entry in the futuristic first-person shooter series, Titanfall 2, came out last fall for multiple platforms but didn't quite make sales waves, perhaps because EA released it smack in the middle of Call of Duty and the publisher's other big shooter, Battlefield.

Early last year, EA announced that it had contracted Respawn to make a Star Wars action game, in addition to the Battlefront series and what was then planned as a Star Wars action-adventure from Visceral, which has since been cancelled.

Respawn, based in Los Angeles, has been independent until now.

Additional reporting by Luke Plunkett


Comments

    Yeah, it's $455m now, but it'll probably be closer to $1bn by the time they're done buying DLC and loot boxes.

    Oh well, given EA's long and illustrious history of success with other developers they've acquired over the years, I'm sure this will work out well for all concerned.

    Sure am looking forward to EA's creative influence in aligning yet another studio's design process with the publisher's "recurring player investment"-focused monetization strategies.

      I'm already getting excited thinking about all of the synergies they'll be able to leverage once their corporate visions have been brought into alignment.

      Well they already are doing that in titanfall 2, you pay for skins for your pilot and titan. If they keep it at that i dont mind but i hope they dont go further (so basically im prepared to be disappointed because of course it will be pushed further)

    Stop buying loot boxes you plebs, ruining the entire planet for us all!!!!

      Retail capped @ 60 and dev fee raising => profit shrinking.
      Micro-transaction itself's no evil, important thing is how you implement it. To be fair, you'd have to view every game independently, it's a case by case thing.

      Last edited 14/11/17 5:33 pm

    Following on the EA is evil concept. Might it be possible EA intentionally screwed up the Titanfall 2 release to set up this acquisition? Like potentially make Respawn more desperate or cheaper to acquire?

    To this day Releasing Titanfall 2 in between CoD and BF still seems like an extraordinary dumb decision.

      That & who knows maybe EA still holds a grudge against these guys for leaving them & MoH & going to Activision to create CoD. Seriously why did they choose to crawl back to EA out all publishers could've gone with for Titanfall.

    This sure seems like an expensive way for EA to close a studio, but hey! Good luck to you Respawn!

    Last edited 10/11/17 10:26 am

    Goodbye Respawn it was nice knowing you.

    Better start looking for a new job guys

      They'll leave an make another studio called 'Extra life' then 5 years later get bought from Activision for another 500million.

    Prepare for lootboxfall in 3....2....1....

    Prepare for 'games as a service' pilot, fukin lol RIP Titanfall

    Before I even read this story...

    F#@$!

    Right now I'm going to read it...

    What is the betting the close Sledgehammer Games and put Respawn into the Call of Duty Cycle.

    Dear Gaming Corporates, STOP TYING PERFORMANCE PAYMENTS TO METACRITIC SCORES. Sincerely, BJ.

      Why? EA will save money by adding making money mircotransactions.

      Someone makes a great game, then you add money-making but evil loot boxes, people hate the lootboxes, metacritic reflects people neg the game, EA pays no bonuses!

        Are the metacritic bonuses based on the reviewer scores or user scores? I always assumed it was the reviewer scores since they are less prone to trolling than user scores. And they're also probably less likely to have their score influenced by loot boxes etc since they tend to review the game before it's out in the wild with those who paid up playing against those who didn't.

          I'd imagine both, the idea of paying bonuses upon good reviews feels like a good faith scenario, if there's good word of buzz then it means more people likely to buy your game on those words, positive reviews, bonuses.

    So they left Activision, go indie and sell their souls to the other Satan of the gaming industry?

    I look forward to seeing what games Re-Respawn cook up after EA shuts them down

    Does anyone know roughly how many copies of Titanfall, Star Wars etc they'll have to sell before this deal becomes more profitable for EA than just continuing the existing relationship with Respawn that they already had?

    Although to be fair, they might not have done this if their hand wasn't forced by the fact that Nexon would have bought Respawn if EA didn't.

    Oh man, and you thought EA screwed them over with TF2 before.

    I think EA is more of an acquirer of IP that is forced to make games to fund its addiction.

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