Electronic Arts Buys Titanfall Dev Respawn For Over $450 Million, New Mech Mayhem Incoming

Game publishing titan Electronic Arts has gone out and acquired Respawn Entertainment, the development studio behind the Titanfall franchise, for $151 million in cash and up to $164 million in long-term equity in the form of restricted stock units to employees, vested over four years. EA also agreed to pay up to $140 million more if Respawn meets certain performance milestones related to future titles. In total, the buyout could be worth $455 million when all is said and done.

"We’ve seen firsthand the world-class caliber of Respawn as a development studio with incredible vision, deep talent and an inspiring creative mindset," said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. "Our longtime partnership is grounded in a shared desire to push the boundaries and deliver extraordinary and innovative new experiences for players around the world. Together, we’ve brought this to life in the Titanfall franchise, and now with the Respawn team joining EA, we have exciting plans to accomplish even more amazing things in the future."

Titanfall 2

Respawn is a bit of a titan itself in the game development arena, and here is hoping it does not fall. A cynical view of the acquisition would be that EA is a place where game studios go to die. The most recent casualty is Visceral Games, which acclaimed fame with its Dead Space franchise. EA shut the studio down last month, burying it in a growing graveyard of gaming studios that include Bullfrog Productions, Westwood Studios, Origin Systems, BlackBox Games, DreamWorks Interactive, Maxis Software, and many mothers over the past three decades.

Despite EA's shaky track record when it comes to buying and maintaining game studios, Respawn is excited about what the future holds.

"We started Respawn with the goal to create a studio with some of the best talent in the industry, and to be a top developer of innovative games," said Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment. "We felt that now was the time to join an industry leader that brings the resources and support we need for long term success, while still keeping our culture and creative freedom. EA has been a great partner over the years with Titanfall and Titanfall 2, and we’re excited to combine our strengths. This is a great next step for Respawn, EA, and our players."

In a blog post, Respawn boss Vince Zampella said it wasn't necessary to join EA, but that it made a lot of sense, given that "EA has been a great development partner." Zampella also lauded EA for letting Respawn do its thing without interference, and allowing the studio to grow its own culture. Going forward, Zampella says Respawn will retain the same creative freedom that it has always had, only now with more resources at its disposal.

One of the first acts of business is to make a new Titanfall game, one that is set in the Star Wars universe. Respawn will also develop a VR gaming experience, though it did not share details on what exactly that will be.