EA: COD creators' game a long way off
"Most would say we stuck it to Activision."
Respawn, the developer formed by the creators of Call of Duty after they were sacked by Activision, has yet to decide what game to make for new publisher EA.
EA confirmed to Eurogamer that Respawn's new game is further out than Insomniac's unnanounced multiplatform game for EA.
"The thing everybody needs to remember is they were starting at absolute zero," David DeMartini, EA Partners boss and the man responsible for sealing the deal with Respawn's Vince Zampella and Jason West, told Eurogamer this morning at gamescom.
"This is two guys who really know what they're doing having to go find a place for the team, buy chairs and desks and furniture, find new technology from the ground up, and pull a team together. I need to get HR people and contracts. There are all kinds of things and administration that need to take place.
"Amongst all that administration they've pulled together the core of a fantastic team and they're starting to work on a whole bunch of ideas to try and find what is going to be the one right idea for us.
"It's like the Pope coming from the group of cardinals," DeMartini added. "You just wait for the smoke to come up and they share with you. We're sitting there waiting for the smoke to come up and when it does we'll call you."
DeMartini said signing the sacked creators of Call of Duty felt great not because of the impact it had on rival publisher Activision, but because it helped Vince Zampella and Jason West get back on their feet.
"Most people would say you stuck it to Activision. People who look at Vince and Jason think, oh, you know, a couple of guys, highly successful, how much trauma could they be going through? They got fired by Activision.
"No matter how you slice it or dice it, no matter how many opportunities you have on the other side, getting fired is not fun.
"It was really rewarding to present them with an opportunity which allowed them and their families to land on their feet, and for them to start building a new thing together and open a new chapter of their lives.
"The Activision part, we win some, they win some. It goes back and forth. I don't see it as some big competition.
"Sure, I want EA to be the most successful, but I don't want Activision to fail. It's like going to a bad movie. Sometimes movies are so bad you don't got to any movies for a while because you're burned by whoever made that last movie. I don't want consumers spending money and playing bad games. I want them to play good games.
"I want EA to be the most successful and that's my singular mission in life. But whether it's THQ or Activision, I don't want them putting out bad product either because it's just bad for the industry.
"The thing that happened with Jason and Vince was not great for the industry because they got fired. But them landing with us and having an opportunity to build a team and start from scratch is great for them."
So, how did DeMartini convince Zampella and West to sign with EA?
"I had never met them before," DeMartini told Eurogamer.
"I met them after they got fired. Certainly by reputation – you can't work in the games industry and not know the two guys that worked on the biggest thing in the history of the industry.
"After they were tossed out of Activision... Talk about getting sacked, if I hadn't of got a hold of those guys through the agent, I would have been fired. When those guys are available...
"But everybody in my position did exactly the same thing. As soon as they were gone from Activision and it hits the wires, I'm sure THQ was there and EA was there and Take-Two was there and Ubi was there and everybody was talking to them. We just happened to have the right pitch.
"I thought it was my charisma and charm – that tipped it over the top."