Respawn agent Blackley leaving CAA

Xbox designer-turned-power-player leaving Hollywood agency that represents Insomniac, Will Wright, Ken Levine, and Patrice Desilets to form game production company.

One of the bigger behind-the-scenes players in the game industry is moving on. Variety is reporting that Seamus Blackley is stepping down as the head of the games division of Creative Artists Agency. According to the trade, he is leaving the Hollywood talent powerhouse, whose film clients include Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, to form his own game production company. His exit will be gradual, allowing for a transition through the end of the year.

Blackley is saying sayonara to CAA.

Blackley leaves behind a game division at CAA that has amassed a massive client roster since he joined in 2003. Currently the agency represents Irrational Games' Ken Levine, Will Wright's Stupid Fun Club, Jenova Chen's thatgamecompany, L.A. Noire designers Team Bondi, and Grasshopper Manufacture's Shinji Mikami and Goichi Suda. CAA also represents Patrice Desilets and was presumably involved in the Assassin's Creed director's defection from Ubisoft to THQ last year.

That said, Blackley is currently most famous for his courtship of two particular clients: Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella. According to court documents, Blackley was allegedly tapped by Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello to help woo away West and Zampella from Activision. A complaint filed by Activision contained numerous e-mails attributed to Blackley in which he aggressively pursued Zampella, urging him to meet with one "JR"--a person Activision claims was Riccitiello. Eventually, West and Zampella were fired from Activision for "insubordination" and went on to form the EA-aligned indie shop Respawn Entertainment, which is also a CAA client.

However, Blackley was involved in the game industry long before he joined CAA. In the early 1990s, he worked at Looking Glass Studios (then called Blue Sky Productions) on System Shock and Flight Unlimited, for which he helped design the flight physics. In 1999, he was hired by Microsoft, where he was a lead member of the team that designed the original Xbox.

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Discussion

22 comments
Jaga_Telesin
Jaga_Telesin

Good move, because.. he really looks like a true hardcore gamer. /cough

athenian29
athenian29

Anyone else notice the guy's earring?

servb0ts
servb0ts

he reminds me of Robin Williams after he used wrong hair dye.

madmaxx101
madmaxx101

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

thorsen-ink
thorsen-ink

@madmaxx101 The NIGHT RIDER! Remember his name when you look at the night sky!

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Quite the impressive career. I'm surprised I haven't heard him mentioned before now.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

I gotta hand it to someone who comes from the game industry but managed to parlay that into a top job in Hollywood like that. I wasn't thrilled with the Ubisoft defection, but other than that I'm a fan of all of his clients (restricting that to strictly Respawn rather than EA as a whole).

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@KillerBill316 "these aren't the droids your looking for"

KillerBill316
KillerBill316

He kinda has that look that makes you want to betray your boss. Could be a Jedi or Witcher thing...

namdar
namdar

His eyes can see right through my soul!

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Well at least he helped design the original Xbox. A very good system last generation.

monson21502
monson21502

damn that dude should play in the next he-man movie!

holtrocks
holtrocks

How is every article related to a cod game.

kris9031998
kris9031998

"In 1999, he was hired by Microsoft, where he was a lead member of the team that disigned the original Xbox" Oh man this man will go far!

xxKai
xxKai

Wow this guy's a real big shot Also, lol at the dude who gave himself a thumbs up

Zephol
Zephol

was abused "sexually" by John Riccichelo hahaha