Plugged In

Jason West and Vince Zampella, co-founders of “Call of Duty” developer Infinity Ward and the central figures in an ongoing legal battle with Activision, have formed their own development studio and signed an exclusive publishing deal with Activision rival Electronic Arts.

In a statement released Monday, the duo’s Respawn Entertainment “will focus on creating state-of-the-art gaming experiences for global audiences.”

“Respawn Entertainment marks a fresh start for Jason and me,” said Zampella, general manager of Respawn. “For the past decade, we led a great development team and poured our hearts into creating an epic gaming 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.”

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, Respawn Entertainment is receiving several million dollars in startup capital from EA. The Times also reports that West and Zampella “will own and have full control over the intellectual property they create.”

The creation of Respawn — and its alignment with EA — represents a major event in the video game industry. West and Zampella are two of the most well-known developers in the business, and their success with the “Call of Duty” franchise speaks for itself.  If they can recapture the magic they discovered with “Call of Duty,” the move could pay major dividends for both EA and Respawn.

Hopefully we’ll hear some type of announcement regarding a new IP from Respawn soon, though an E3 reveal seems highly unlikely. Regardless of when EA and Respawn pull back the curtain on their first project, it’s certain to capture the attention of the gaming world. Could a “Call of Duty”-killer be in the works? Only time will tell.