Who was there: USA Today gaming editor Mike Snider interviewed Respawn Entertainment general manager Vince Zampella.
What they said: Zampella started off by talking about Respawn's first year and a half of existence. The studio has all its major disciplines covered and has staffed up to 60 people.
When Respawn signed with EA Partners, one of the key issues was creative control over the resulting product. Zampella said Respawn owns that intellectual property and can now take it wherever it wants to go and do whatever is the best thing for the franchise. It's not necessarily a requirement to own the IP to have that control, but Zampella said it's helpful in getting employees to be invested in the project. If they're going to give their all to a project, they need to feel like they have a stake in it.
Zampella said he was always interested in games growing up and even used to compete in Magic: The Gathering tournaments. In high school, he was more of a closeted gamer, he said, but the hobby has become more accepted in recent years. As for how he got started making games, Zampella said he fell into it when a friend got hired on at a developer. He didn't have a college degree, though he was good with computers and games.
Eventually, Zampella wound up working at SegaSoft, developing a massively multiplayer online game called Skies that never came out. SegaSoft was the publisher, which led to Zampella meeting Jason West on the developer side of the equation at Paradigm Entertainment. When Zampella started up 2015 Inc., he tried to recruit West several times unsuccessfully but eventually convinced him to join up. One of the key moments in the developer's career happened shortly thereafter, when the studio was offered a job porting Medal of Honor: Frontline for the PC. Zampella told EA it was a terrible idea and offered instead to create an original game from the ground up, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.
As for his presence at the 3D Gaming Summit, Zampella said he just bought a 3D TV for his setup at home but wouldn't confirm that the first Respawn Entertainment game would make use of the technology. Moving on to current trends, Zampella addressed the free-to-play model, saying that right now, there are different expectations between what people expect from full-priced packaged games and free-to-play titles. However, he says that separation might not exist in the future. He believes there's a spot for the current model of AAA games in the future, but if people can get something that's 90 percent as good for free, Zampella said that could change.
Quote: "We are keeping a close eye on what's developing and where it makes sense."--Zampella on 3D gaming.