Ubisoft's attempt to grab the third-party-publisher crown was thwarted today. Crytek, the up-and-coming developer of the acclaimed--and Ubisoft-published--PC shooter Far Cry, announced it has inked a deal with publishing giant Electronic Arts.
Though its (presumably sizable) financial terms were not disclosed, the Crytek-EA deal will be more than just the one-off deal the studio had with Ubisoft. Billed as a "strategic partnership," the agreement will see Crytek "create an exciting new game franchise for the PC based on original intellectual property." The two companies did not say what kind of game the new IP would be, nor did they disclose when the IP would be released.
"Bringing original intellectual property to the interactive entertainment market is a key focus for EA," chimed Frank Sagnier, vice president of EA Partners Europe, unintentionally highlighting the publisher's dependence on established franchises (007, Madden, Battlefield, and so on). Crytek president Cevat Yerli was understandably pleased knowing his studio's next title would have EA's muscle behind it. "Our advanced technology and creativity, together with EA's production support as well as marketing and sales, means that we have a great opportunity to bring an original gaming experience to our consumers," he said.
The EA-Crytek deal will have no effect on the console editions of Far Cry and Far Cry Instincts, which is being developed by the Splinter Cell makers at Ubisoft Montreal. Originally slated for a holiday 2004 release, Instincts was recently delayed until 2005.