Ousted Modern Warfare 2 Creators Respawn, Sign With Former Rivals

The drama involving the creators of one of the biggest franchises in gaming continues as Jason West and Vince Zampella, the fired former lead creators of Modern Warfare 2, have formed a new company, Respawn Entertainment. EA, their formal rival, is backing.

[UPDATE: Check out Kotaku's interview with West and Zampella about Respawn Entertainment.]

The Monday morning news announcing the new company follows a Friday that saw Activision, the mega-publisher that fired Jason West and Vince Zampella from their leadership positions at Modern Warfare development studio Infinity Ward, suing the ousted creators. Activision has accused the duo of misdeeds and subterfuge designed as an alleged attempt to "steal the studio."West and Zampella had sued Activison a month prior following their dismissal from their perches atop Activision-owned Infinity Ward.

But today the two creators are announcing a new company and an exclusive publishing deal with Activision rival Electronic Arts. The new company, based in Encino, California, will make games for the EA Partners label, an arrangement that means it will remain an independent company from EA. West and Zampella's former studio, Infinity Ward, remains wholly owned by Activision.

"Respawn Entertainment marks a fresh start for Jason and me," Zampella said in a statement. "For the past decade we led a great development team and poured our hearts into creating an epic game franchise. We're very proud of what we built – and proud that so many millions of fans enjoyed those games. Today we hope to do it all over again — open a new studio, hire a great team, and create brand new games with a new partner, EA."

"We're excited," West said. "Now that the team is in control of the games and brands, we can ensure that the fans are treated as well as they deserve."

While West and Zampella's experience has recently involved military first-person shooters, including EA's Medal of Honor series, which they worked on prior to handling Call of Duty and Modern Warfare for Activision, they offered no details on the new game.

The release indicated only that "the company will focus on creating state-of-the-art gaming experiences for global audiences."

Kotaku will have more on this story as it breaks.

For a recap of the latest events in the imbroglio involving Activision, Infinity Ward, West, Zampella and now EA, check out Kotaku's recent Call of Duty Legal Warfare round-up.