Respawn talks with THQ 'fell apart' on rights issue

Zampella: Owning IP is important to us

The proposed partnership between THQ and Respawn Entertainment is said to have broke down over the issue of IP ownership, a publishing boss has said.

THQ Core Games boss Danny Bilson said the publisher was “one deal point away from signing Respawn”.

Respawn was formed last year by two ex-Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella.

The duo was marched out of their former studio by Activision following allegations of “insubordination”. The duo in turn accused Activision of holding bonus pay to ransom. Legal proceedings in place are hoped will resolve the matter.

Zampella and West signed a Respawn agreement with EA Partners to publish its future games.

Yet THQ would have snaffled the EA deal, Bilson said, had not the issue of IP ownership broke talks down.

“I saw [West and Zampella] recently, and they said it was that only one deal point, one that I wouldn’t cave on,” Bilson said in an interview with Wired.

He said: “My responsibility to our stockholders and to my CEO and the company is to build an IP library”.

Bilson added that, had a deal been agreed where Respawn owned its own IP, the publisher would have to answer to its other internal studios wanting the same level of autonomy.

Zampella confirmed Bilson’s account.

He said: “As for the IP ownership, frankly, after what we’d just been through with Activision, owning the IP we were going to create was important to us. Unfortunately, THQ did not want to agree to that.”

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