November 10, 2017 // 10:25 a.m.
Electronic Arts (EA) has announced the acquisition of Respawn Entertainment, the company behind well-received first-person shooter franchise Titanfall, in a deal for £115 million in cash, £125 million in equity, and a 'variable cash consideration' of up to £107 million dependent on future performance.
Originally launched as an Xbox and Windows exclusive, Titanfall offered players something a little different from the first-person shooter norm: a rapid-fire environment in which competing players could perform parkour-like stunts and, once they had racked up enough kills, call down a giant mech known as a Titan from an orbital platform - hence 'Titan fall'. The game's cross-platform successor proved even more popular thanks to a considerably more fleshed-out single player experience, though an attempt to branch the franchise out into mobile gaming did not end well for developer Particle City.
Now, EA has announced it is to acquire Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment in a deal valued at nearly £350 million in cash and equity - less than a month after closing Dead Space creator Visceral Games part-way through the development of a game set in the Star Wars universe.
'We've seen firsthand the world-class calibre of Respawn as a development studio with incredible vision, deep talent and an inspiring creative mindset,' claims Andrew Wilson, chief executive at Electronic Arts, of the deal. '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.'
'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,' adds Vince Zampella, Respawn Entertainment chief. '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.'
Fans of the Titanfall franchise, however, may have cause for concern: Electronic Arts has form for acquiring popular studios then closing them down a short time later, going back to its acquisition of Batteries Included in 1987 and taking in gaming pioneers Origin Systems, Bullfrog Productions, Maxis, Westwood Studios, Playfish, subsidiary studios Danger Close Games, Quicklime Games, Mythic Entertainment, Phenomic Game Development, Pandemic Studios, PopCap Games' Dublin and Vancouver divisions, and including its partial stakes in shuttered studios Accolade, Mpath Interactive, and Kodiak Interactive Software Studios.