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When ousted Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella announced their own new studio -- and a publishing deal with Electronic Arts -- few people were surprised.The publisher who sacked the pair, Activision, accuses them of "insubordination", painting a portrait of two studio founders so eager to strike out on their own that they'd talk secretly with the company's biggest rival. But today, as West and Zampella talk to Gamasutra on the morning they announce Respawn Entertainment, the pair beg to differ. "I don't know that that's a fair assessment," Zampella says. "We were fired! Once we were fired, we got a lot of interest in publishers, and trying to figure out what we were going to do next."And they had options: "It was encouraging that the day after we were fired, so many people contacted us to find out what we were doing," Zampella adds."
What was really important was partnering with someone that understood our culture... and that we wanted to own our IP, and EA Partners was the best," says West. Agrees Wedbush's Michael Pachter: "As an independent studio, the best distribution partner they could find is EA," the analyst tells us. "They have the most global reach."The major unanswered question is where and how the pair's next project will fit into EA's publishing portfolio. From Medal of Honor through Modern Warfare 2, their work has focused on first-person military titles -- and if their new game falls under that umbrella, as most are assuming it will, it will compete with EA's Battlefield and MoH franchises as much as it will with Call of Duty.But the nature of Respawn Entertainment's upcoming work is a question that won't be answered just yet: "Right now, it's just Jason and I; the company's just kicked off today," says Zampella. "So we don't know what we're doing yet."And as for the angle that the pair is engaged in something of a homecoming after leaving the Medal of Honor brand in the first place, the pair are clear: "We're not 'returning to EA,'" says Zampella. "
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