EA Exec Talks Future of Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, and More

By Brian Leahy, Nov 03, 2010 12:40pm PDT Eurogamer spoke with Electronic Arts' Patrick Soderlund, charged with watching over the publisher's racing and shooting franchises, about the future of Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, Battlefield, and some other titles.

Let's talk about Need for Speed first. "My vision for NFS is it will be a brand the consumer can enjoy on an annual basis," said Soderlund. "He can look at that game and say, 'I know this is going to be a high quality entertainment experience.' That is a must for us." EA also doesn't want to get into a situation "where a developer had to make a game in eight to 10 months."

With Criterion finishing up Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and the desired yearly schedule for the franchise, it is safe to assume that EA Black Box will be handling the 2011 release of NFS. What about Shift? "Then, when the market permits and when we feel ready, we'll put our side genre, the Shift brand, the more authentic motorsports segment - we'll come up with Shift versions as well," explains Soderlund.

This paints a picture of three studios working on games in a single franchise: Criterion, EA Black Box, and Slightly Mad Studios. Sounds a bit like Activision's situation with Call of Duty. Soderlund contends that the inspiration did not "necessarily" come from Activision's arrangement:

Let's say this year you have a Criterion version of NFS that's still true to what NFS is, then obviously next year we can come back with something that's still true to NFS but maybe a slightly different approach on NFS.

That can be a stronger long-term proposition for consumers than if you have the same developer make basically the same game every year. That's where the idea came from.

As for Burnout, "the way we look at it is Burnout is an IP EA owns," said Soderlund. "I hope to see more Burnout games in the future. But it's about prioritizing what we want to do. At this point we haven't made a decision to whether Burnout does this or that, but it's not dead for sure, no."

Shifting over to Medal of Honor, Soderlund admits "the game didn't meet our quality expectations. In order to be successful in that space, we're going to have to have a game that is really, really strong." He wouldn't say what Danger Close is currently working on, but did confirm that the studio has something cooking.

On Battlefield 3, Soderlund reports that development at DICE is "going well. I'm very happy with what we have and I'm really excited about showing it to the world because we have something that is going to be very, very cool." As for Bad Company, "considering the success of [the franchise], we haven't buried that at all. It's something we're looking at what to do with, but right now we're focused on making the best possible game for consumers to enjoy, and that's obviously Battlefield 3."

Yesterday, EA Easy teased the announcement of a new Battlefield title with the reveal coming on Friday, according to a new tweet by the studio's general manager Ben Cousins.

The rest of the interview can be found at Eurogamer.

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9 Threads | 23 Comments

  • I would rather get a great Need for Speed every two years and get a Burnout in the year between those two NfS games.

    I think EA needs to remember that people get SICK of the same thing eventually. Following Activision's model (and that's what they're doing even if they're too proud to admit it) is going to lead to disaster for most games. Look at Guitar Hero. Look at Tony Hawk.

    If you go every two years, you build up anticipation and also give studios time to branch out and try different things. Even if they're not new. That is, Burnout vs Need for Speed. If you just make nothing but Need for Speed, what do you get?

    Need for Speed: Most Wanted
    Need for Speed: Shift
    Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
    Need for Speed: Adjust
    Need for Speed: Calling All Units
    Need for Speed: Slide
    Need for Speed: High Impact
    Need for Speed: Drift
    Need for Speed: Officer Down


    Soon, it doesn't matter what the game is called because it's "just another Need for Speed game." No offense to EA, but NfS is not Call of Duty. It won't ever be. It'll be the next Guitar Hero, NBA Live/Elite, or Tony Hawk.

    Crapping out three military-themed fps's by DICE in a year period is also not the way to help strengthen your brand, btw. Especially when two of them are called Battlefield and the last one is advertised as having MP by the same team that did those other two.

    EA has this extensive library of old franchises to reach into. Instead, they follow Activision's lead on a strategy that has worked for them on exactly one franchise: Call of Duty.

  • All MOH needs is more content. That's all. More maps. Wanna hook some players? make some of those free. Add customization, that's the buzz word (or feature) this year and more than likely the "thing" that sells games. As far as mechanics go the game is ROCK solid, but you have to offer me a reason to stay on.
    As it stands right now, you can beat the single player fairly quickly, and the multiplayer is fun and fast, but I can max out all the good stuff real quick for a dedicated player. We need more.

    I also think EA needs to think about branding. MOH is a very difficult sale for Bad Company players, because in a effect MOH is Call of Duty meets Bad Company. So I cant see the win on this argument. Exactly to whom are they selling this game to?
    If they want defector's to try and love their game well then they need more. Not game mechanics, just more to entice. Cause the game is fun to play. Just kinda over before it starts and that is really short sighted for experienced developers.