38 Studios, EA in Big Huge RPG deal

Ex-baseballer Curt Schilling's studio inks deal to publish PC, 360, and PS3 single-player RPG penned by author R.A. Salvatore; Oblivion, Morrowind vet lead designer; Spawn's Todd McFarlane art directing.

Electronic Arts' EA Partners program made headlines last week for striking publishing deals with indie developers Hothead Games and Klei Entertainment. Today, the company made a larger announcement--a Big Huge one, in fact. Ex-baseballer Curt Schilling's developer 38 Studios has struck a deal with EA to publish an upcoming single-player role-playing game. The deal does not extend to 38 Studios' massively multiplayer project, code-named Copernicus.

EA just added another arrow to its RPG quiver.

Code-named "Project Mercury," the single-player RPG is being developed by Rise of Nations studio Big Huge Games for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. (After then-owner THQ threatened to close the studio in 2009, 38 Studios stepped in and bought the Maryland-based developer.) It will be an all-new intellectual property cocreated fantasy by comic-book artist Todd McFarlane (Spawn) and author R.A. Salvatore (The DemonWars Saga). Both men helped Schilling found 38 Studios--then called Green Monster Games--in 2006, and respectively serve as art director and "executive creator of worlds" at the Maynard, Massachusetts studio. The game will not be based on any of Salvatore's or MacFarlane's previous work.

Though 38 Studios is a relatively new operation, Project Mercury has some seasoned development talent behind it. Its project lead is Ken Rolston, who was lead designer on Bethesda Softworks' acclaimed high-fantasy RPGs The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Several other Bethesda alumni are working on the project, as well as a senior designer from Lucasarts' the Force Unleashed. Veterans of Civilization and Civilization II are also on board.

According to EA Partners general manager David DeMartini, Rolston and his team will also be able to tap the minds of EA's own RPG powerhouse. "The guys at BioWare were actually involved in the early discussions with the folks at Big Huge," he told GameSpot. "They've had an opportunity to have some preliminary discussions and preliminary talks. So, I certainly think that you could expect strong collaboration that would include the BioWare team."

Ken Rolston was lead designer on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Though he would not reveal Project Mercury's release date, DeMartini said that EA will play "air traffic control for RPG fans" to make sure the game's launch doesn't conflict with that of any BioWare titles. The Canadian developer recently released the multiplatinum hits Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins within three months of each other. The first full-fledged Dragon Age expansion, Awakening, is due out next week, with another major release in the series due out in the first quarter of 2011.

Finally, DeMartini said the 38 Studios/EA Partners deal came about due to the friendship between Schilling and EA Sports' gregarious president Peter Moore. After the two spoke casually about a potential collaboration, an EAP team went to 38 Studios and Big Huge Games to look at Project Mercury, which they (obviously) approved of.

Written By

Want the latest news about Mass Effect 2?

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2

Follow

Discussion

166 comments
LeoLex_
LeoLex_

Please can we have ELDER SCROLLS 5 or somthin that is OBLIVION. New Vegas round the corner but i need my SCROLLS fix of genius.

Cybrian
Cybrian

If I had to pick a strong team to put together a great gaming experience it would include the people assembled for Project Mercury. Good to see Bethesda and Bioware folk working with Rolston... they've certainly got the chops to deliver. Let's hope it's an inspired and fruitful collaboration...

finshur
finshur

@sleemgblade DAO was crappy for you because you more then likely played it on console instead of a real PC, sorry some games are not meant for console and likewise some are not meant for PC's

sleengblade
sleengblade

Mass effect 2 was great no complaints, umm Dragon Age/origins and awakenings aah well, I'll skip the first quarter 2011 releas b/ the dragon age serious to me, was very very disapointing, junk compared to what they said it was going to be. It wasn't terrible but I returned this game and won't buy it or any more of it's dlc until it hits the $9.99 bin cause thats all it is worth. Dragon age outshined Divinity 2 in the ratings and that is so arse backwards, divinity 2 is so much better than dragon age and yet the ratings favor dragon age. I think time will tell on this issue, as for me, I'm playing divinity and wouldn't play dragon age again unless it was priced right ($9.99).

Yealdin
Yealdin

Hmm, well it sounds interesting, but as of now it's just a bit of vaporware I'll forget about until it's at least half a year from coming out. Until then, idfc. PS: Jarlaxle could kick Drizzt's ass.

zigfeld
zigfeld

Finally some news from 38 Studios.

cosita46
cosita46

Well it;s up to Buckets and more Buckets!!!

lixeiro
lixeiro

Really great news, I looked at the 38 Studios Site and there it says there are 2 games beeing developed, an MMORPG coded COPERNICUS and the single player stated here , both by the same team. Anyway, Salvatore + Mcfarlane + Bioware + Bathesda + EA = something to wet our pants, hopefully in a good way :).

Hard_Target
Hard_Target

Todd McFarlane + EA + BioWare + Bethesda = Buckets, and buckets and even more buckets.

LT-Voltaire
LT-Voltaire

This Jimmy is got all the connections to get this off the ground and with his team line up i think will be in store for a wonderful new and exciting RPG game. Lets hope Jimmy is as good at making games as he was at playing Major League Baseball. Im routing for you Jimmy dont strike out.

Frost_311
Frost_311

Shout out to Jimmy for getting his game published by EA, should be a good RPG man.

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

THIS DUDE WROTE AWESOME BOOKS. Yes caps was necessary. Despite EA's involvement, I'm excited for this. Hopefully their funding, but not horrendous practices will get mixed into this.

Phaselinear
Phaselinear

Instead of saying.. "OMG, this, this, and this were my favorite games by so and soooooo, I'll just say we need more thought provoking, original, and expandable RPG's out there. Bathesda, Bioware and the like make the best RPG's, so let them create something new then. Just don't rush it into production and give us garbage as a result.

ChudWarrior
ChudWarrior

Curt Schilling the baseball player? So random. I'm guessing 38 was his number. Sounds pretty sweet though. Some people involved with one of my favorite RPGs Oblivion collaborating with Bioware(Mass Effect 1 and 2 were both incredible) and working with MacFarlane (among other talent) on a huge RPG. Boners abound! Sounds too good to be true, or good. What's next? Are they going to announce a co-op mode for the entire campaign? This has no reason to be bad, we will see though, just as long as it is not a space saga about a heroic retired baseball player saving the earth.

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

Wow! A whole page filled with no real info on anything realy interesting. Other then a bunch of peopel working together for whatever reason. I wonder if thay got fired? This seams to be the right mounth to fire thos devs you cant stand anymore or just want to get rid of. I will keep not realy caring about this untill i get som real valid info on whatever this is thay are workin on. Untill then i cant realy be bothered with this crap. And thats what i think.

wahyudil
wahyudil

38 studios is a name .... sigh ...

wahyudil
wahyudil

38 studios is a name .... sigh ...

schesak
schesak

To all of you crazed Drizzt fans indicating hopes that he'd appear in the game....the article already said it is not drawing on anything previously done by Salvadore, so it ain't happening. And if that isn't convincing enough for you, remember that Drizzt is a Forgotten Realms character and therefore he is owned by Hasbro. Salvadore had (I'm not sure if he still does) the rights to make literary works based on that setting but never had the rights to do so with games. Current legal rights to make games with Dungeons and Dragons brand (which includes the Forgotten Realms) does not currently lie with either the developer nor the publisher, so it would be completely impossible for them to feature Drizzt in any game without a gaurantee of a law suit (which Hasbro would win). In other words, it isn't happening.

Palantas
Palantas

If this game's any good, it'll be an artistic vindication for EA.

KoolzKatz
KoolzKatz

Wow great to hear. Schilling helped bring us Red Sox fans a title and now he will deliver a great RPG im sure. Awesome talent they got to help make it.

BlackJakal
BlackJakal

OMG! YESSSS!!! RA SALVATORE!! BIOWARE!!! AND! BETHESDA!!!! ...i just "shat" a brick

HitmanDante
HitmanDante

Everything about this article gives me goosebumps

batman0811
batman0811

This makes me want to cry out for joy, i havent been excited for a game in a long time, and with R.A. Salvatore writing if this game has Drizzts in it im going to bust out in tears. That sounds really really nerdy but man oh man, a game with Drizzt is going to be awesome or at least it better be.

cdchi1
cdchi1

Thanking my lucky stars for the words "single-player".

Jd1680a
Jd1680a

This would be interesting to see how Curt Schilling new company does with games soon to be released.

Shinkada
Shinkada

Art direction by McFarlane, script by Salvatore, lead by Ken Rolston, and by the sounds of it, funded by EA... Ladies and gentlemen, this could be incredible.

Oloryn
Oloryn

Definately something to keep an eye on, though when I read R.A. Salvatore, part of me was hoping for a next-gen stylish action-rpg hybrid with Drizzt...oh that would make me a happy gamer, but at least this sounds good too.

Dan21278
Dan21278

Todd McFarlane is amazing you know he designed this Disturbed indestructible album art. If he's directing the art I have faith

okassar
okassar

Sounds good, I like 38 Studios. But this reminds me, when the hell is Bethesda going to make the next Elder Scrolls? Seriously, they haven't even announced it yet. Better come out in the next year, I'm dying for one.

funsohng
funsohng

oh. i thought it had something to do with rise of nations and big huge games studio

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

"The guys at BioWare were actually involved in the early discussions with the folks at Big Huge," BioWare, Bethesda, the pure potential here is mind blowing.

TheDreamSeeker
TheDreamSeeker

"Todd McFarlane art directing" Well, Hell Yeah!.

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

38 Studios has done its homework and assembled an outstanding staff. This will be one game I will keep an eye out for and wish all of those involved good luck.

Tat77
Tat77

sounds like this is going to be good

pooyanh
pooyanh

If they take Oblivion and blow some soul in it, it'd be awesome.

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

On paper this looks and sounds wonderful, I just hope with all that tallent, egos do not get in the way of creating great products.

Oodama_Rasengan
Oodama_Rasengan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

TheGibsonSG
TheGibsonSG

I like the thought of Rich Gallup designing an RPG.

madd_hatter
madd_hatter

I love both developers but i just hope it's not another Dragon Age. Don't get me wrong it was okay, but just not my favorite.

bencarps41192
bencarps41192

I love Bioware RPGs and EA rpgs but not to be mean but I never really got into Oblivion or Fallout. I would prefer a game like Dragon Age or FF.

The_T-Ban
The_T-Ban

Hopefully it's not gonna be as boring as Dragon Age .

Cujo31
Cujo31

This is great news!

topsemag55
topsemag55

I had no idea that former Bethesda people are involved. This ought to be good, especially since they have been meeting with Bioware's RPG team.:)

emails200000000
emails200000000

Finally some companies are going to combine talent to make the best RPG ever. Elder Scrolls x2?

Litchie
Litchie

I like Salvatore, I like Elder Scrolls and I like Todd McFarlane. This has to be good.