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

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.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 3, 2010 12:51 PM

    So he's admitting that he wants to sell us the same game every year? Basically they're going to take what they do with sports games and apply it to every IP? I can't wait for Battlefield 2K11, Battlefield 2K12, and Battlefield 2K13.

    No thanks, EA.

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      November 3, 2010 1:04 PM

      What people want and what people actually buy are only vaguely related. EA, Activision, Ubisoft, etc. all are in the business of selling games to maximize profit, not the business of making gamers happy. You might say that they're related, but they're not the same at all. Yearly refreshes of established franchises sell a hell of a lot better than original games, and they cost less to make.

      So of course he's admitting that EA wants to sell us the same game every year. Just look at the money that pours in every time a new Call of Duty or Halo comes out. Soderlund would be an idiot not to want that for every product in EA's lineup.

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        November 3, 2010 1:24 PM

        The problem with that mindset is that you destroy your IP and trade short term profits for long term viability. Think about all the Mario games over 20+ years versus Rock Band. One people still want to play, the other was run into the ground as fast as possible.

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          November 3, 2010 1:28 PM

          Mario is in soooo many games. It's just the "main" series entries that are few and far between.

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            November 3, 2010 1:38 PM

            No deal, Brian. REORDER PRECANCELED. ;-)

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            November 3, 2010 2:25 PM

            I think that's the point.

            Mario as the icon has mass appeal. The main Mario title comes out once or twice each console generation.

            IPs aren't icons that you can lend to different genres. IPs like MOH and NFS are always gonna be the same genre, slightly modified.

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              November 3, 2010 2:51 PM

              Yes. Mario as a character works.
              Medal of Honor can't be put into a tennis game to help sell it... or maybe it can!

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      November 3, 2010 1:04 PM

      Are you surprised? People buy it.

    • reply
      November 3, 2010 2:27 PM

      I think what he's saying is that they want a new NFS every year, and perhaps other more casual series (like crappy Sims expansions) not necessarily a yearly Battlefield.

      Hell, it's taken DICE 5+ years to make BF3, that's pretty far away from being reduced down to yearly.

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