Divide and conquer: the next step for Respawn

Divide and conquer: the next step for Respawn
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

March 29th 2016 at 10:03AM

Spurred by the success of Titanfall, Respawn Entertainment is gearing up its workforce for a follow-up to the robotic first-person shooter – as well as something completely new. HR and recruiting manager Kristin Christopher tells Matthew Jarvis who will fit the bill

Before it even launched its debut game, Respawn was one to watch.

The studio was founded in early 2010 by Jason West and Vince Zampella, the brains behind Call of Duty, who were quickly joined by the majority of staff from the pair’s former outlet, Infinity Ward.

Nearly six years on, Respawn is more than just a promising start-up; it has the positive critical and commercial momentum of 2014’s Titanfall under its belt, and has already confirmed work on a sequel.

It’s also cooking up something fresh, in the form of an unannounced third-person action-adventure IP.

“Respawn is growing from a one game, one team studio to a two game, two team studio,” HR and recruiting manager Kristin Christopher tells Develop.

“A while back we hired Stig Asmussen – formerly with Sony, where he was director on God of War 3 – to direct a new game for us.

“The team is currently small, but as they prepare to go full-force into development there will be many more positions that open up. I could see us hiring up to 70 more people to support that game, not counting other roles in the studio. It is a really exciting time.” 

TITAN CALL

This year’s hires are a major step-up for the relatively young studio, as it prepares to significantly boost its workforce for the first time since its inception.

“After we built the team that made Titanfall, we generally didn’t have a pressing need to actively recruit much,” recalls Christopher.

“Although we have been hiring slowly and deliberately, this will be a big recruiting year for us as more and more roles become necessary.”

With so many veteran developers among its ranks, the prospect of joining Respawn may be intimidating to industry newcomers.

Christopher offers her assurance that it’s talent – rather than time – that counts. 

“What makes Respawn so great is the quality of our team,” she enthuses.

“We hire people who are smart, proactive, great at what they do and who get things done. We also hire for character and culture fit – we want to work with people we like. We find these qualities in both candidates who have many years of experience and those who have very little.

"The result is that there is no dead weight here. Our team members can rest assured that the person sitting next to them is delivering great work.” 

THE TINY GIANT

Respawn is an indie studio working under the guise of a triple-A outlet. 

Although Titanfall was published by EA, the IP belongs solely to Respawn. It’s a distinction that Christopher says reflects the developer’s philosophy when it comes to incubating new ideas.

“Although we make triple-A games, our teams are on the smaller side compared to other triple-A developers,” she explains.

“We had about 70 developers on the original Titanfall and we currently have about 90 working on the sequel. We expect our new team to grow to a similar size. 

“We offer the appeal of an indie studio where there is a chance to make your mark, combined with the opportunity for blockbuster-level success.”

It’s this dedication to innovation that Christopher insists marks Respawn as a studio fit for long-time creators and fresh-faced developers alike.

“We believe great design ideas can come from anyone,” she says.

“As such, everyone in the company has an opportunity to contribute and have a voice when it comes to making the game great.”