For some time, Electronic Arts has been talking up an active drive to introduce new IPs to the games space.
Titles like Army of Two, Boogie, Skate, Mirror’s Edge and even those still rumoured such as Dead Space, have proven that the company is keen to move away from its bread and butter sports franchises, staple action game series and licensed IP.
And further evidence of this activity was to be found at this month’s Sandbox Symposium event held in San Diego just before SIGGRAPH, with a panel discussion not only examining EA’s approach to rapid prototyping of new ideas but also revealing that its Florida-based Tiburon studio was hard at work on new games alongside its Madden and Tiger Woods games.
Producer Jeremy Townsend first took to the stage to reveal that he had been using the Nintendo Wiimote plus Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio to quickly prototype ideas to support the studio’s investigations into new IP for Tiburon to develop – although the projects are currently unannounced (and may never be).
While little was directly said about the potential games themselves, Townsend did explain that XNA offered great advantages to prototyping new ideas thanks to the easily executable managed code C# and handling of multi-threading, plus it lets even programming-minded consumers have go. Of XNA Game Studio Express, he said: "Considering the price of an actual Xbox 360 development kit runs in the thousands it’s a nice concession to the community."
His colleague Kyle Gray, however, had more meatier news, confirming that a new DS game, also concept-tested using rapid prototyping, was recently given the greenlight by EA execs.
The new DS game evolved out of a period of fast production using Flash – which he said helped convey both high level and low level ideas to execs and allowed everyone involved, from himself as a designer to those giving him the go ahead for full production, to have a say in the game idea’s creation.
Find out more about EA’s push for new IP production and better game design via rapid prototyping, with further comments from the company’s chief visual and technical officer Glenn Entis plus Maxis’ Chaim Gingold, in the first part of our two-part report here.