Epic, Grasshopper partner with EA

Megapublisher to distribute new IP from Gears of War-maker's People Can Fly subsidiary, forthcoming collaboration between Suda-51 and Shinji Mikami.

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REDWOOD CITY--Though Electronic Arts has made some major acquisitions in recent years--most notably Digital Illusions CE (2006) and BioWare/Pandemic (2008)--the publisher also has less disruptive ways of working with external developers.

In 2006, the now-second-largest third-party publisher announced it would distribute Crytek's Crysis and Valve Software's The Orange Box. The following year, it revealed it would handle marketing, PR, and retail duties for MTV Games' Rock Band, developed by Guitar Hero creators Harmonix. Just last month at the E3 Media & Business Summit, EA stunned many by announcing a deal with longtime Activision partner id Software to help bring its open-world road-action game Rage to stores.

The key to these landmark deals is EA Partners, a program which has the publisher lend its marketing, distribution, financial, and retail expertise to indie shops for a cut of their games' proceeds. As explained by John Carmack at E3, the program offers a range of services to indie developers. The flexibility EAP offers is attractive to many studios, and today at the publisher's first post-E3 media showcase, EA announced two more deals which few could have predicted.

The first will see EA join forces with Epic Games, the powerhouse North Carolinian developer and creator of the Unreal Engine 3, which lies at the heart of games like Mass Effect and Hour of Victory. Epic's project with EA will be an action game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, with development handled by Poland-based People Can Fly, the studio behind Painkiller. Epic president Mike Capps told the audience that his instructions to "PCF," which Epic bought last year, was to "make something as cool as Painkiller and go over the top."

This is not the first time Epic has teamed with a big-name publisher in order to get its games on shelves. The developer has also partnered with Midway Games to publish Unreal Tournament III and with Microsoft for the Gears of War games, the second of which is due out November 7.

Also on hand at today's event was Goichi Suda--sometimes referred to as Suda-51--head of the maverick Japanese developer Grasshopper Manufacture. The EAP program will handle North American distribution for Suda's next project, a collaboration with designer Shinji Mikami. It is EAP's first game from a Japanese developer, and will be made for a worldwide audience "with North America and Europe in mind," according to EA Games president Frank Gibeau. He told GameSpot that EA's history of simultaneous multiplatform publishing was a major factor in the Grasshopper deal, as the game will be released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and PC.

The Grasshopper project was described as a "mysterious unique action-packed horror game" by Suda, who apologized he could not provide further details. He will direct the title, while Mikami will serve as a producer. They will have even more help, as EA has said Q Entertainment (Lumines, Meteos) will also work on the project.

The pair of Mikami and Suda boasts an impressive resume, with Suda having created cult favorites Killer7 and No More Heroes, and Mikami having created the Resident Evil franchise. In recent years, Mikami reinvented his hit series with GameSpot's 2005 Game of the Year Resident Evil 4 and signed on to create another new game for Platinum Games and Sega.

Discussion

90 comments
gorezombiez
gorezombiez

What people can fly project??People can fly?What in the world are they talking about?

burn6
burn6

EA have been with so many parties these past few years, they are a growing giant, but i smell monopoly on the horizon.

osiris
osiris

activision-blizzard is the largest now

nikinikin
nikinikin

Uh...since when is EA the second biggest publisher?Who is the biggest?UbiSoft?Activision?

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

It's one new unlaunched franchise, not their entire catalog. So I don't care. Only I worry that Mark Rein might wind up pissing off the suits at EA.

killzone_gamer
killzone_gamer

Nooo! Epic Games have signed with EA. Oh well, to be honest I'm not that bothered, EA make Burnout Paradise and Fifa 09, both good games, + it was looking more and more like Microsoft were going to snap up Epic to add to their collection. Multiplat FTW :)

Evanrocknuma
Evanrocknuma

also as long as they don't push the games out too fast..........

Evanrocknuma
Evanrocknuma

By no means do I like the fact that EA is buying out and taking over all these companies... as long as they are not touching the games themselves and are just distributing them, I could care less.

pycho22solid
pycho22solid

I have mixed feelings. I'm not a fan of how EA does their business but I think this move will be beneficial to all 3 companies and gamers alike in the future

War_Martyr
War_Martyr

I just love how they categorized Hour of Victory next to Mass Effect...But I could actually care less. EA's been doing pretty good this year, not really shoveling crap onto store shelves but putting a lot of good games so far. I still don't agree with EA's methods, but as a consumer, I do like what they're offering so far.

Skyriderlink
Skyriderlink

I used to like EA but after the take over of Bioware I am starting to hate.Now EA got its hands on the most powerful game engine available.I haven't seen any games made with CryEngine 2 other than Crysis so I can't really say whose engine is more versatile.EA is trying to become Microsoft of gameworld.

lowkey254
lowkey254

I've been bashing EA since n64 days. I wonder if they've changed? I mean, are they letting the development teams take their time to create a good game or are they still the slave drivers I know them to be?

zhevox
zhevox

No, Epic..you don't know what youre doing....dont go to the dark side!! im being too sarcastic

shaun_mcwayne
shaun_mcwayne

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

NFS102
NFS102

Ugh. I don't want Epic to go Downhill.

Thewbacca
Thewbacca

This makes no sense. Suda 51's next work is supposed to be Kurayami, based on the German novel The Castle, and is exclusive to the Ps3.

DavidRI
DavidRI

EA blows, they just want to monopolize.

Paladin_King
Paladin_King

Good to hear that Suda isn't done. hopefully he'll finally get the sales he deserves with Mikami on his side.

GrindingAxe
GrindingAxe

I have a bad feeing about this, kinda like when Bush got into office....again.

MichaeltheCM
MichaeltheCM

EA will become the Microsoft of the video game industry. yay?

siLVURcross
siLVURcross

Well so long as something good comes out of it then this is nothing but good news. Teaming up to make great games is just plain awesome in the long run.

Staryoshi87
Staryoshi87

EA continues to be a strong, positive force in the industry. I look forward to what these developers can produce given EA's financing, advertising, and publishing services.

Factor-Zer0
Factor-Zer0

Awesome. PCF are a great company and now that they are with Epic, hopefully they will get some recognition. PK2 in spirit!

TriggaMyke
TriggaMyke

I don't know.. I love Epic Games.. I mean, they're Epic. I also love EA. I have mixed feelings :P

lnb2
lnb2

I think your daily e-mails are not in sinc with the web site. I got an email on RE 4 and when I followed the link I did not see anything about RE 4. you need to work on that. Don't have the time to fish all around for something I want to see

SpartonGhost
SpartonGhost

No offense but I'd like it if EA could just mind their own business.I don't like that they are teaming up with all these people, especially EPIC.

AzevedoB
AzevedoB

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

APOLLOCJD
APOLLOCJD

Hmm this could be an interesting move

InfectX
InfectX

Yes! Suda-san and Mikami-san back in action! Killer7 was one of my favorite games last gen; I hope this is as good.

ctg867
ctg867

Wow, first Valve, then Crytek, then id, and now Epic. They are really getting the big names working with them.

ParisSun
ParisSun

This is nothing unsual. The movie industry has been doing this for a while now. It cuts down the cost and risk that one company has to take. It could also speed up projects. So good stuff. As long as the creative people are allowed to continue doing what they do then no problem. Expect to see more and more partnerships like this.

kirbomb
kirbomb

epic and ea? hmmmmmmmmmmm. as long as epic continues to do gears on 360 im happy, gears 3 on ps3 would not be cool, i like to play gears with my friends on live, on psn i dont really have any friends that i like and i dont really like playstaion fanboys, all they do is b#tch and bullsh$t about how much better ps3 is better than 360, i have never heard anyone on live just start a conversation about how much ps3 sucks, it happen all the time to me on psn

shions_glasses
shions_glasses

A Mikami and Suda game sounds too good to be true. With Makami's grounded solid exceptional gameplay, and Suda's wonderful insanity, its a safe bet that this will clearly be the greatest game of all time and most likely the greatest accomplishment humanity will ever achieve.

WardCleaver02
WardCleaver02

Mass Effect and Hour of Victory should not be mentioned in the same sentence, as it may taint the rep of Bioware.

ParamedicFoetus
ParamedicFoetus

@ ottumatic "Is the people here illiterate or what?" lol

killzone_gamer
killzone_gamer

I don't really know how that can do an ALL-NEW iP, because every genre has a game for it now. I mean, theres even a few interactive Game Shows!

lowenergycycle
lowenergycycle

With so many luminaries of games development opting for the EAP program, I'm convinced this is a good idea. These guys have been in the industry for generations - I'm sure they'd smell a rat if there was one. I never thought I'd say this, but: nice one EA!

glitchgeeman
glitchgeeman

Suda 51 and Mikami on one project? Definitely something to look forward to. I just hope EA gives them a lot of flexibility. You better now screw this up for us EA.