Why We Think EA Bought Titanfall Developer Respawn

Delia Watkins
November 12, 2017

Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment is now an EA studio: Electronic Arts announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire the company for $315 million, plus "additional variable cash consideration that is contingent upon achievement of certain performance milestones, relating to the development of future titles, through the end of calendar 2022", that could add up to another $140 million.

Among other things, the buyout preserves Respawn's continued work on an upcoming EA game set in the Star Wars universe; EA now enjoys an exclusive license to making Star Wars-related video games, and any takeover by another company would have to resolve whether or how such a project would continue in production.

According to various documents, EA outbid the South Korean publisher Nexon, which publishes the Titanfall mobile game and had also made an offer to buy Respawn.

"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".

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While it wasn't necessary, going with EA made a lot of sense.

Do you think Respawn and their image of the franchise will change much, now that they're in the EA family? 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. "Respawn will join EA's Worldwide Studios organization, a global creative collective of leading game development studios", the press release says. "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".

It's important to remember just who Respawn is: the core of their team is the original Call of Duty team - up and through Modern Warfare 2 - who followed Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella to the new studio after a bitter falling out with and subsequent lawsuit against Activision.

The fact that EA acquired Respawn isn't concerning in and of itself; what is concerning is the timing of the acquisition. Those bonuses apply to games that will be developed until 2023.

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