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EA shelves one of two Starbreeze projects

Publisher cancels either Project RedLime or Jason Bourne title in development at Swedish studio; layoffs not expected.


Following yet another quarter of steep losses, Electronic Arts said in November that it had shelved more than a dozen games in an effort to focus on products with high profit potential. EA's list of killed-off projects grew this week, as Swedish development house Starbreeze Studios announced that work had ceased on one of the two games it was making with the publisher.

Starbreeze still has at least one project to smile about.
Starbreeze still has at least one project to smile about.

Unfortunately, uncertainty persists as to which of the two projects EA took an axe to. With Starbreeze remaining mum, EA would say only that it "is focusing resources on fewer, bigger titles." The publisher further noted that it is "working with the team at Starbreeze to make a great game."

In February 2008, EA said that it had tapped Starbreeze to "reinvent" one of EA's "most acclaimed classic franchises." Operating under the working title Project RedLime, the project has been rumored to be a reboot of Bullfrog Productions' cyberpunk tactical action game Syndicate. Project RedLime had been slated to arrive for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

The studio's other collaboration with EA involves an adaptation of Robert Ludlum's novels, including rogue operative Jason Bourne. Following Activision's jettisoning of the Bourne license, EA announced a multiyear, worldwide licensing agreement to create games based on the books. Starbreeze's first game to come about from this deal would track the adventures of Bourne, though neither platforms nor a launch window were revealed.

Starbreeze CEO Johan Kristiansson offered no indication as to which project had been canceled, though he did put a positive spin on the week's events. "We will continue to focus only on a big production together with EA," he said. "Our relationship with EA is stronger than ever, and the aim now is to spend more resources on the game that demonstrated the greatest potential. This game is already in full production."

Kristiansson also noted that he does not expect the game's cancellation to necessitate head count reductions at the studio. Starbreeze is perhaps best known for its 2004 critical darling Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. The studio also scored top marks for the 2007 shooter The Darkness.

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