Following today's announcement that EA purchased Titanfall developer Respawn in a deal that could be worth up to $455 million, the second reaction was, "What's in it for each party?" The upfront payment of $151 million will buy the studio itself while further payments are due of $164 million in long-term equity and $140 million in performance milestone payments, which effectively means they have to deliver on Metacritic. "We've seen firsthand the world-class caliber of Respawn as a development studio with incredible vision, deep talent and an inspiring creative mindset", said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. The developer has already worked with EA on numerous occasions and, together with the new Titanfall game, is also now working on an unnamed third-person action adventure game set in the Star Wars universe.
Titanfall was released in 2014, with Titanfall 2 released two years later.
Titanfall was an enormous success for the studio, having sold upwards of four million copies on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One; an impressive feat considering that it was the first title for the new studio as well as one of the first major titles for Microsoft's new video game console. Respawn has a good pedigree too, it was founded by Call Of Duty veterans Jason West and Vince Zampella.
"EA will provide us with more resources, access to new technologies, and expertise in areas that Respawn values for future growth". 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.
It says a lot about where EA are at right now as a publisher and in the eyes of gamers that this news was met with alarm. Respawn is also developing the third Titanfall and a virtual reality game for Oculus. Zampella also lauded EA for letting Respawn do its thing without interference, and allowing the studio to grow its own culture.
The acquisition of Respawn could set EA back in excess of $400 million.