Mega-publisher EA has purchased a new studio—Respawn, the developer of Titanfall. The news comes just weeks after the publisher shuttered Visceral Games.
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EA said in a press release that the deal is worth $455 million, a number that includes cash, equity, and performance milestone payments.
Respawn staff have spent the past few weeks exchanging whispers about a potential sale, two sources said, although there was no concrete news until the studio informed employees about the deal in a meeting today. Earlier this week, one source with access to some of Respawn’s forthcoming plans sent us what they said was a version of the acquisition contract, which reveals that EA is paying over $400 million for the Los Angeles-based studio. According to various documents sent by that source, EA outbid the South Korean publisher Nexon, which publishes the Titanfall mobile game and had also made an offer to buy Respawn. EA had 30 days to match that offer, which they chose to do.
Respawn will also receive bonuses tied to Metacritic scores for both its upcoming Star Wars game and the unannounced Titanfall 3, according to that documentation.
Founded in 2010 by Call of Duty designers Jason West and Vince Zampella, Respawn won hearts with its first game, Titanfall, released in 2014 as an Xbox exclusive. The second entry in the futuristic first-person shooter series, Titanfall 2, came out last fall for multiple platforms but didn’t quite make sales waves, perhaps because EA released it smack in the middle of Call of Duty and the publisher’s other big shooter, Battlefield.
Early last year, EA announced that it had contracted Respawn to make a Star Wars action game, in addition to the Battlefront series and what was then planned as a Star Wars action-adventure from Visceral, which has since been canceled. Respawn is also developing the third Titanfall and a virtual reality game for Oculus.
Respawn, based in Los Angeles, has been independent until now.
Additional reporting by Luke Plunkett