E3 06: EA delays Superman, Medal of Honor games

Movie tie-in game now set to hit alongside DVD later this year, military shooter pushed to 2007.

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In the investor conference call accompanying its quarterly earnings report today, Electronic Arts announced a couple of delays for upcoming games. The company's game adaptation of this summer's blockbuster film Superman Returns has been pushed back, as has the next installment of EA's own Medal of Honor series.

Superman Returns was originally set to arrive on shelves for a number of systems alongside the movie's release this June. In the call, EA executive VP and general manager of North American publishing Frank Gibeau explained why the Man of Steel won't make that date.

"The ambitious nature of the open-world design proved to be fairly challenging, with regard to hitting the launch window for the film," Gibeau told investors. "And we wanted to look at a long-term opportunity here with Superman, so as a result we moved the product release to the fall to coincide with the DVD at holiday. Actually, from a publishing standpoint, the DVD release at holiday is a nice combination. There are more vehicles for us to market and promote the game, and we're going to get a better game this fall than we would have with the movie release."

However, Superman will still be faster than the speeding bullets of the Medal of Honor series when it comes to reaching retail. EA indicated that Medal of Honor: Airborne will not make the all-important holiday season this year as had previously been announced. Instead, Airborne is now expected to drop in the fourth quarter of the company's fiscal year (January to March of 2007).

"That is going to be a critical franchise for us in the next cycle," Gibeau said. "That's a franchise that we want to grow over the next five years… It's a very ambitious design, and again, we are prioritizing game quality higher than making that date."

This is not the first time EA, citing quality concerns, has delayed highly anticipated games. Last July, the company delayed its planned release of The Godfather. The move pushed the game out of the key holiday quarter, which had a definite impact on EA in the market. The day after the announcement, the company's stock lost nearly five percent of its value.

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