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Activision and EA settlement 'clears the way for Respawn game in fiscal 2014'

Analyst doesn't expect Activision to try to block or delay the Call of Duty creators' new game

This week's settlement of a $400 million contract interference lawsuit between Activision and Electronic Arts should enable the latter to publish the first game from Respawn Entertainment in its 2014 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2014.

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That's according to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, who said today in a research note: "We believe that the settlement agreement signals that Activision will not attempt to block or delay the first release from Respawn Entertainment, which we continue to expect in FY:14."

After being sacked by Activision in 2010, former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella sued their former employer for unfair dismissal and unpaid bonuses, before going on to form Respawn, whose first game will be funded through a publishing deal with EA.

Activision counter-sued the pair for insubordination and breach of fiduciary duty, and later drew EA into the legal dispute by alleging that its rival had been attempting to poach its star talent from as early as July 2009.

But in a statement released yesterday the two companies said: "Activision and Electronic Arts have decided to put this matter behind them."

Activision versus West, Zampella and tens of other former Infinity Ward staff goes to trial next week.

EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau has previously described Respawn's debut project as a "sci-fi oriented" shooter that will allow the publisher to "compete with things like Gears and Halo". But with the exception of a blurry image or two very little has been revealed about the game, and it was confirmed this week that it won't be on show at this year's E3.

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