EA Partners' David DeMartini has told MTV's Multiplayer blog that EA's deal with Japanese developers Grasshopper and Straight Story (and in particular their figureheads, Suda 51 and Shinji Mikami) is the first of what it hopes will be many in the region.
That particular relationship came about because Suda 51 was looking to tap into EA's expertise in marketing games to the West in order to create a game that'd appeal to a wider audience than his usual work.
“What they intended to gain was hopefully insight and sensitivity toward what a North American or European audience is looking for with regards to story and some other elements,” DeMartini said.
“Suda certainly has a reputation for creating incredibly creative product, but sometimes the product is very much appreciated by the game critics but not as appreciated by millions and millions of people. He was looking for a breakout hit into the multiple millions of units kind of thing.”
The idea - and what EAP finds particularly interesting - is that by partnering with a non-Japanese firm, the two companies will be able to create something different than if Grasshopper partnered with a traditional Japanese publisher such as Nintendo. The cultural difference, he says, "would represent something that is slightly uncomfortable for both parties, but also represents something that is very unique and very special.
"Hopefully this will serve as a springboard to a successful formula that we can apply to some of the other great Japanese designers."