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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