Although Respawn Entertainment, the developer responsible for the Titanfall series, has worked primarily with Electronic Arts since its inception, it wasn't actually owned by EA. That changes today, as EA has announced it has acquired the California-based developer and the Titanfall IP along with it.
EA has served as the publisher of Respawn's games so far, including last year's Titanfall 2. The studio is currently at work on a new Titanfall game (a fact that was confirmed today), a third-person Star Wars title, and a VR game. Specifics on all of these have not yet been announced. We don't know what to expect from the Titanfall game, though Respawn has expressed interest in continuing the series. As for Star Wars, we know it's being directed by God of War III director Stig Asmussen. (Notably, EA recently shut down Visceral Games, which was also working on a Star Wars game.)
"We've seen firsthand the world-class caliber of Respawn as a development studio with incredible vision, deep talent and an inspiring creative mindset," EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in a press release. "Our longtime partnership is grounded in a shared desire to push the boundaries and deliver extraordinary and innovative new experiences for players around the world. Together, we've brought this to life in the Titanfall franchise, and now with the Respawn team joining EA, we have exciting plans to accomplish even more amazing things in the future."
In a letter on Respawn's website, CEO Vince Zampella discussed the decision to sell the company, noting that he will remain in charge and that no layoffs will take place. "While it wasn't necessary, going with EA made a lot of sense," he said. "With Titanfall and Star Wars, EA has been a great development partner that supports us and doesn't interfere with our process for making games or studio culture. EA will provide us with more resources, access to new technologies, and expertise that we can tap into to that will help us make better games, and Respawn will retain the same creative freedom and culture we've always had. We've been talking closely with the leadership at EA and we share their values and vision for the future of being a developer-focused company that puts the players first."
EA helped Respawn to get off the ground after Activision fired the developer's founders, Zampella and Jason West, from their roles at Call of Duty studio Infinity Ward. This resulted in a well-publicized lawsuit. Since then, West left Respawn and retired. This new deal sees EA pay $151 million in cash for Respawn, as well as up to $164 million in equity. Performance milestones could see the cash figure rise as high as an additional $140 million.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Vince Zampella.