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EA Exec: Our Responsibility Is to Push Industry Forward and Help Others

"We can't just be a company that's only about gigantic big things."


Publishing giant Electronic Arts wants to be known as more than just the maker of huge franchises such as Battlefield, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Star Wars. According to EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Soderlund, EA has a responsibility to "push the industry forward." Part of this effort includes forming partnerships with smaller, indie studios such as Unravel developer Coldwood Interactive.

"We've had a lot of discussions inside the studios around our responsibility as Electronic Arts to push the industry forward and to help others," Soderlund said in a new interview with GamesIndustry International. "We can't just be a company that's only about gigantic big things. There's more of a portfolio mentality that there's some things that we want to give to the players, that's something like Unravel."

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He went on to explain how Unravel came to be an EA-published game and why he thinks the game itself is important for the industry overall.

"I think [Coldwood Interactive] were showing Unravel to a lot of other publishers as well, and I think that we managed to convince them that we would be a good home for this, and that we would nurture it and take care of it the way it deserves," Soderlund said. "Meeting [creative director Martin Sahlin] and hearing him talk about the game, and how deep it is to him, and how important it is to him, and where it came from; this industry needs that, as well as the other things. A company the size of EA should be in both, I think."

In Unravel, which GameSpot editor Alexa Ray Corriea dubbed E3 2015's "most adorable game," you play as a creature made of yarn whose name of course is Yarny. The yarn represents love--and you'll run through someone's life, trying to put the pieces back together. Players will use the yarn to solve environmental problems, like using it to swing across a gap, fly a leaf like a kite, and climb over obstacles like trees.

In addition to Unravel, EA has reached an agreement with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons director Josef Fares for his next game, called Hazelight. EA's investments in these smaller games does not, however, take away from the publisher's affinity for large-scale, AAA games.

"We will always put a lot of effort into our AAA games, but it's good for us to have a portfolio that is maybe broader than what we've had in the past," Soderlund explained.

Be sure to read the full GamesIndustry International interview with Soderlund for lots more.

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