Megapublisher to distribute new IP from Gears of War-maker's People Can Fly subsidiary, forthcoming collaboration between Suda-51 and Shinji Mikami.
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.
EA have been with so many parties these past few years, they are a growing giant, but i smell monopoly on the horizon.
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.
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 :)
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
Good to hear that Suda isn't done. hopefully he'll finally get the sales he deserves with Mikami on his side.
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.
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.
Awesome. PCF are a great company and now that they are with Epic, hopefully they will get some recognition. PK2 in spirit!
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
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.
Yes! Suda-san and Mikami-san back in action! Killer7 was one of my favorite games last gen; I hope this is as good.
Wow, first Valve, then Crytek, then id, and now Epic. They are really getting the big names working with them.
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.
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
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.
Mass Effect and Hour of Victory should not be mentioned in the same sentence, as it may taint the rep of Bioware.
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!
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!
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.
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