Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment signed a publishing deal in April 2010 before the studio even had the idea for Titanfall, what is now considered one of 2014's most-anticipated games. Vince Zampella revealed the news in a new For The Win interview posted on YouTube this week.
Recalling the origins of Respawn Entertainment, Zampella said, "We signed a deal with EA; we didn't have a game idea, we didn't have technology, we didn't have computers, we didn't have anything."
You might wonder why EA would sign a start-up developer to a publishing deal with such little information to go on. Though Respawn was "new," its founders--Zampella and Jason West--are some of the most well-known and respected developers in the business. They founded Call of Duty studio Infinity Ward and worked there until Activision controversially fired them in 2010. West has since left Respawn, after "revelations" from the Activision lawsuit reportedly led to a rift between the two developers.
Also in the video feature, Respawn producer Drew McCoy said during the first days of the studio, Respawn didn't even have a lease on its office space in Sherman Oaks, California and relied on a friendly landlord to give them keys to the building every morning. The office space also left much to be desired, he said.
"The floors here were all nasty and had broken glass and cockroaches," McCoy explained.
The first Respawn hires spent as many as two months sitting in a circle on folding chairs brainstorming ideas for what would become Titanfall. This forced employees to be more creative, game director Steve Fukuda said. This was also a hurdle, he said, because "how do we work on a game when we don't have any tech?"
EA has since aligned with Microsoft to make Titanfall a console exclusive for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, though the game is also coming to PC--exclusively through Origin. The Xbox One and PC version of Titanfall launches March 11, while the Xbox 360 version--developed by Bluepoint Games--was recently delayed to March 25 so the studio could have more time to polish it.
A beta for Titanfall will be held on Xbox One and PC, though Xbox 360 owners are going to be left out.