Is EA Starting To Realize Their Mistakes?
After a couple of years of controversial statements and decisions, buy-ups and close-downs, even a few (rather silly and somewhat unjustified) awards for something along the lines of "outstanding douchebaggery" - it's been a rocky few years for the enormous publisher. While most people agree that a lot of the company's decisions, whether related to the business side of things or the direction of their franshises, EA themselves have so far stood with their heads proudly tilted up towards the sky, admitting nothing but greatness. Well, for the most part.
It's a bit surprising then, that EA's executive vice president, Patrick Soderland, now shows up in an interview with Gamesindustry, discussing the future and admitting that a lot of their actions so far - particularly when at times almost directly copying the model of competing games - haven't always been for the best of the company. It's not too long ago that we got word that Medal of Honor is on extended leave, and it was known just recently, that MoH developer Danger Close has in fact almost shut down completely. According to Eurogamer who interviewed Söderlund at E3, the Dead Space franchise is currently a loose end, as no developer has been assigned to work on a sequel just yet. To me, that sounds like a company not too confident in itself and its current IPs.
"One can advocate that even though Battlefield 3 was a gigantic success for us, I would say we may have looked a little bit too much at our competitor. We've been criticized for that, especially on the single-player side. [...] You have to be a little paranoid about what others are doing, but staying true to what you're doing is the key."
That sounds well and good, EA. But I seem to remember gameplay designer Alan Kertz of DICE say something like "You don't kill CoD by trying to be CoD" before the launch of Battlefield 3. In other words, you guys have said similar things before, where this was not the case. Are you sincere now, Soderlund? Or is it simply a marketing ploy meant to reassure potential customers that Battlefield 4 will be less inspired by Call of Duty? Because the single player footage you showed at this year's E3, kind of looked exactly like any other Hollywood-inspired modern military shooter. Let's hope you're not taking after Peter Molyneux here.
EA's vice president also taps into the topic of the recently announced Mirror's Edge 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront in the interview, stating that he has full trust in DICE being able to deliver the goods, despite the potential challenges met by the fact that they're now working on three different games at once.
"That game concept, that series, combined with DICE is a match made in heaven. [...] I can't think of a better developer suited to take that game on."
Speaking of Battlefront, IGN have been talking to Patrick Bach, Executive Producer at DICE, about the Battlefront reboot, and DICE's vision for the game. In short, Patrick said that they "don't want Star Wars plus Battlefield", meaning a simple Star Wars reskin of Battlefield 4 should not be expected. DICE apparently want to make it its own thing. Very admirable, if it turns out to be the case. It is a bit ironic, though, that the previous two Battlefront games were obviously trying to copy Battlefield 2 back in the day, with a hint of Star Wars added on top.
Either way, both Mirror's Edge 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront are far from finished, or even off the initial drawing board. With EA wanting to reform and focus more on making their own games instead of looking so closely at the competition, and these two exciting new titles on the horizon... the next few years could turn out to be a new, much bright era for Electronic Arts.