EA: Modern Warfare 'damaged' by Infinity Ward exodus

Publisher predicts Respawn will do "great things"

EA Partners boss David DeMartini has predicted that startup studio Respawn will achieve "great things" in future - but told CVG that he fears for the future of Modern Warfare franchise in the wake of the Infinity Ward exodus.

Respawn was last month created by former IW chiefs Jason West and Vince Zampella - after the pair were sacked by Activision for "insubordination".

Respawn has now signed an exclusive publishing deal with EA Partners for its debut project - with Activision boss Bobby Kotick revealing last week that 35 ex-IW staff have joined the new studio.

When CVG asked DeMartini if he believed West and Zampella's situation would have been any different had Infinity Ward been part of the EA Partners programme, he told us:

"It's kind of hard to answer that question because Infinity Ward was an internal studio of Activision. It's not like they were an independent studio that was just contracted by Activision, they were an internal studio of Activision.

"But what I'd say is you haven't seen any internal studios up and leave EA. If Infinity Ward was an internal studio at EA would things have been different? I think yes - but I'm biased.

"I don't like to see that go on in our industry at all. That was a hugely successful franchise. I'm sure Vince and Jason didn't want to get fired and now looking at it the whole thing's kind of blown up.

"A franchise is damaged - maybe never to be the same again. But then at the same time other things spring up. As one thing dies, you have Respawn popping up - who are going to do other great things in collaboration with us now.

"You know, I guess everything happens for a reason. You just kind of look at a situation and you shake your head and go: 'How did this all come to be?' But it did come to be and we just couldn't be happier to work with Vince and Jason and the team at Respawn."

EA's had great success with its own Modern Warfare rival this year, of course - with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 hitting the top of the UK Chart and winning impressive critical praise along the way.