Publishing giant 'doesn't roll in the tank divisions when studios get too independent or risky'

Gibeau: EA encourages creative freedom

EA encourages creative freedom amongst its studios and takes a mostly hands-off approach, Frank Gibeau has claimed.

Speaking to Kotaku, the EA president said the publisher did not discourage independence or creative risks by developers, and highlighted the original ending of Mass Effect 3 as an example of the publisher not interfering with development.

He added that BioWare was completely its own studio, and whilst he would "occasionally" provide feedback on decisions, it was ultimately up to the studio heads to run their individual businesses.

He did not however explain the extent of his editorial feedback and how that could affect development.

“The truth is BioWare has developed as BioWare and that creative culture is owned by them," said Gibeau.

"There’s nobody in the central planning committee at Electronic Arts that rolls in the tank divisions [into our studios] when they get too independent or too risky or too thoughtful.

"Did EA intervene and say, ‘Hey Casey Hudson [BioWare exec director], you’ve got a really interesting ending here to Mass Effect 3, you’re probably going to cause some fans to get upset?

"No, we didn’t do that. Casey is an artist. He made a choice about the story that he wanted to tell as related to Mass Effect 3. And we didn’t intervene.

"It’s the same thing with PopCap, it’s the same thing with how we reinvigorated Maxis. It’s the same thing with DICE. The way it actually really works is those guys report to me and they run their own individual businesses."

Gibeau also suggested that it would be Hudson’s decision whether BioWare would develop more games set in the Mass Effect universe or create a completely new IP, and that EA would be supportive either way.

"Does Mass Effect 3’s ending mean you can never tell another story in the Mass Effect universe? No,” he said.

“If Casey decides on a story that he wants to tell, guess what? He’s going to be able to step forward at EA and we’re going to back him with capital for him to be able to go build that experience and tell a new story in the Mass Effect universe if that’s what he wants to do.

“If he wants to do something different, a new IP, he’ll have our backing as well. He’s a profoundly talented guy. He’s got our confidence. And the audience loves him. So that’s how it really works."

Yesterday, EA DICE CEO Karl Magnus Troedsson said the publisher gets too much flack about not being innovative.

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