There’s a really interesting interview with head of the EA Games label Frank Gibeau over on Develop. Gibeau oversees all of the development companies under EA Games’ umbrella; companies like Visceral Games and the recently signed Insomniac and Respawn.
In the interview, Gibeau provides insight into EA Games’ new approach to dealing with development studios, which involves fostering a sense of autonomy and freedom of creative expression. In other words, Gibeau is giving developers free-reign in how they put together their projects, but within reason. One specific aspect of games that Gibeau will insist on (although he prefers to say he â€œinspiresâ€) is an inter-connected experience. Reading between the lines: the days of single-player only EA games are gone.
But don’t panic just yet! They have been for a while if you think about it. According to Gibeau, all of the bigwigs over at EA Games are â€œvery comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay – be it co-operative or multiplayer or online services – as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished. Online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.â€
Naturally, shortly after this interview went live, the internet erupted with that typical â€œgamer entitlementâ€ attitude; responses like â€œgo to hellâ€ and â€œwhat a tardâ€ could be seen filling up comment posts on various websites. I’m not really sure why. As far as I can see, Gibeau is not saying that from here on out the only EA games you’ll play will be ones that require you to be online and playing with others. He is saying that from here on out all EA games will ship with online integration of some kind built in. That’s already been happening; he’s merely reiterated it as an ongoing business model for EA.
Look at the Cerberus Network for Mass Effect 2: that was an â€œonline serviceâ€ for a completely single-player game. It worked as a means of getting news, DLC and updates to gamers across the planet. For an online service that is integrated a little more, look at Autolog in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. That is an online service that greatly adds to the overall experience of the game. It’s also a feature that isn’t compulsory in order to play the game.
In the interview, Gibeau has merely verbalised what EA has been doing for a while now. We will still get EA published single-player games, but some of them might contain multiplayer features, like Dead Space 2 is going to.
Last Updated: December 9, 2010