UK Bright Light team holding regular meetings with format-holder to get feedback on new DS title

EA takes design lessons from Nintendo for new kids game Zubo

In an exclusive interview with Develop, EA’s new UK studio Bright Light has revealed that a unique relationship with Nintendo has helped it break new ground for Electronic Arts while making new DS-exclusive Zubo.

Multiple trips to the see the format-holder’s in Japan and regular build updates have helped gain invaluable feedback, making Zubo is one of the first EA projects where the company has shown another its work in progress at crucial points in a project’s development.

It’s just one part of EA Bright Light’s transformative approach to games production – in our exclusive feature on the game, the team has revealed that Zubo was granted much more pre-production and development time than any other UK-made EA game.

The new IP, a character-driven rhythm action title for the Nintendo DS, has survived through a number of changes at EA UK over the past two years.

Discussing the collaboration with Nintendo, executive producer Rob O’Farrell explained: “It’s been really useful for us – they’ve been clear about what they like about the game and don’t like. It’s helped drive the build and show where we are now."

Since the dialogue between the two first opened, a team at Kyoto has been playing through levels and giving advice on a regular basis – It’s a process that goes beyond the evaluation done by the firm’s in-house testing team Mario Club, said O’Farrell.

“The problem with that process was that you’d get feedback, and sometimes you wouldn’t agree with it, but it was too late in the day to take it on board anyway.

“The great thing now is that they are involved in the process, and we have time to take on their feedback. They have given us lots of constructive criticism. It was all valid and we’ve taken it all on. And these are the guys who have helped make Pokémon – people we really respect, so when people like that give you feedback you make sure you listen.”

The full profile of Zubo and Bright Light can be found in the latest issue of Develop, available to read here or downloadable as a PDF here. The feature will also appear on the Develop site tomorrow.

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