EA looking to revive 'a couple' of classic franchises

Labels boss Frank Gibeau says that a handful of properties are being reimagined; process involves introducing more than just new tech.

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EA has been keeping the trademarks for some of its more storied franchises up to date, re-upping its claim on the likes of Syndicate, Road Rash, Populous, Theme Park, Wing Commander, and Alpha Centauri in recent years. Those trademark applications appear to be more than just idle name squatting, however.

Syndicate is likely one of those classic franchises EA is looking at.
Syndicate is likely one of those classic franchises EA is looking at.

Speaking to CVG, newly appointed EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said that the publisher is in the process of rebooting a number of games from its catalog.

"We do have a couple of old franchises that we're looking at right now… reimagining them and bringing them back," Gibeau said. "We've got 25 years of good IPs, and I've worked on a few of them in my career like Road Rash and the Strike series. So I have a strong affinity for a lot of the things we've done in the past."

EA's reboot process involves more than just overlaying classic gameplay with updated technology, according to Gibeau. The EA executive said that the publisher would need a compelling reason to revive a classic franchise.

"Like basically what we did with Medal of Honor when we brought it back; we looked at going after more modern themes…the war that's happening now as opposed to a historical war," he explained. "That was the reason we brought Medal of Honor back."

"But when we look at Road Rash, the Strike series, or some of these other franchises, we really challenge ourselves," he continued. "We can't just put them on new tech with the same gameplay from 10 years ago; we've got to have something new. That's the typical challenge that we have."

Rumors that EA will be rebooting this or that franchise have crept up frequently over the years, but perhaps the most solid of these is word that The Darkness developer Starbreeze Studios is reviving Syndicate. In February 2008, EA announced a partnership with Starbreeze to "reinvent" one of the publisher's "most acclaimed classic franchises," and both companies subsequently filed to trademark the Syndicate name in 2010.

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