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Could Respawn Save Us From EA?

Author: Nick Banks
15-Apr-2019

Category: Opinion

Rising from the ashes of Visceral and Bioware, Respawn seems to be now casually sweeping the debris to one side as it replaces them in a long roster of beloved game studios to fall to the whims of EA. It’s becoming a long running joke that once super successful development studios become a shadow of their former selves under EA. The cynical gamers’ voice is cautious of the same fate befalling Respawn but somehow, after all the carnage of the past, Respawn has done something singularly different.

In a time where we reluctantly accept predatory monetisation as par for the course when looking at games from EA, the furor surrounding this has recently reached fever pitch. Where EA eases off on monetisation as is the case of titles like Battlefield V, they somehow manage to mess up in the department of marketing (I’ll save you the #Everybody’sBattlefied rant). This year, EA has been in big trouble with their shareholders running for the hills after EA’s ongoing failures starting with a bang with Battlefront II and most recently with Anthem. While there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest it, it could be said things have gotten so troublesome for the much maligned company, that just maybe they are starting to listen to the opinions of others. Namely - Respawn Entertainment

Respawn Understands Us

Vince Zampella and Jason West, both co-founders of Respawn Entertainment, are clearly men who understand the gamer’s mindset more than EA ever could. The two worked on some of the most beloved Call of Duty games in the franchise but they had the presence of mind to see the franchise was getting samey. It was running out of ideas, and despite the obscene money the franchise makes to this day, they felt their creative ambitions could not be met by sticking around at Infinity Ward. After the ongoing success of the Titanfall franchise, there’s a reason many voices out there say “this game is what Call of Duty has been trying to be for so long”. Their combined influence would bring in all of the smooth shooting mechanics we have come to expect from both Call of Duty and Titanfall. After Titanfall 2 released (and before EA bought Respawn outright), the only monetisation to be found was in titan skins and new executions and no, those things were never shoved in our faces. 

Fast forward to today and we have again witnessed Respawn’s awareness of how a gamer’s mind works today. Zampella is known to never pull any punches in interviews and a key question put to him was on why Apex Legends was revealed just a few days before release. He wanted to make very clear that he was aware his company had been bought by a widely hated publisher and he didn’t want that negativity to stain a game he had worked so hard on. “Let them play it for themselves and make their own conclusions”, he would say. He knew without the negative impact of EA tarnishing any of the hype train Apex Legends trailers that could have been, the game would do a lot better for itself with next to no marketing effort whatsoever. Genius. 

Respawn's Voice Could Be Making A Difference

The choice of wording for today’s headline was inspired by the below tweet from EA, proudly boasting there would be no monetisation whatsoever in Respawn’s newly revealed title, Jedi: Fallen Order

That EA felt the need to openly state this is only indicative of how far they have fallen down the monetisation rabbit hole. That, and the hilariously sceptical comments below the tweet.


Something to bear closely in mind however is that this tweet exists. EA has quite literally stated this single player, story based game will have no monetisation whatsoever (rest in piece Project Ragtag). Let that sink in for just a moment.

Your scepticism surrounding EA is warranted but after this, perhaps we can afford ourselves a little optimism for change. The one thing to save EA’s precious stocks over the last few months has been Respawn’s Apex Legends and the abject failure of Anthem has only amplified the competency of Respawn as a games development company that through and through knows what they're doing. Just imagine EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson, sat at the board a few seats down from Vince Zampella and saying “ummmm, I dunno. Vince what do you think we should do?”. 

Nine times out of ten, any old underling developer would say “don’t monetise it” and get laughed out the door. But Vince has saved EA’s bacon and there’s a good chance they feel he’ll go on doing it so if he has the sway to now convince EA to sit on their hands and leave monetisation out of Jedi: Fallen Order, all we then need is for the game to sell extremely well. As soon as it does, we have a small chance (an incy wincy chance, granted) of EA finally seeing the error of their ways. 

Help us, Vince - you’re our only hope! 



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