The video game industry is constantly shifting as development and publishing teams are established, new partnerships are struck, and companies are bought out. Electronic Arts is no stranger to this kind of flux that moves talent all over the place, even developing a reputation for shutting down studios after acquiring them. However, a lot of talent is now headed to the Seattle area where EA is building a brand-new development studio.
According to a report from GamesIndustry.biz, this new studio does not currently have a name, but will be primarily focused on open-world action-adventure games. A vital inspiration for this genre focus was the highly successful Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, which garnered 10 million unique players only six months after release. The new and as-yet-unnamed EA studio will be led by industry veteran Kevin Stephens, who has enjoyed a successful history in action-adventure game development.
Stephens worked as the studio head and productions VP at Monolith Productions during the development of the company’s Middle-Earth franchise. The two entries in the series, Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War, were praised for their combo-centric combat, open worlds, and the unique Nemesis system that restructured its enemy hierarchy. Stephens will be teaming up with Samantha Ryan, former president of Monolith and a current EA senior VP.
With the formation of a brand-new EA studio, a myriad of questions naturally come up, and even the studio heads do not have all the answers just yet. “We’re still figuring out a lot of fundamental questions. How big? What games? How fast to grow,” Ryan said to GamesIndustry.biz. Despite the uncertainty, the new manager expressed confidence in the future and Stephens. “I know Kevin well… I want things done right and know that Kevin will build an amazing group.”
A former EA President of Games once said that offline single-player games were “dead,” and the future lay in the online market. Since then, landmark titles such as Doom (2016), God of War, and Jedi: Fallen Order have demonstrated that single-player games are still very much in demand. While few details about this new studio are available, it could be an indication that EA is starting to understand this better. While this new team is only in the beginning stages of creation, it already has a strong track-record with single-player action titles, and the industry is interested to see what it will do with the financial backing of EA.
The push for more single-player experiences can be felt all over the industry. Fallout 76 was an online-only game in a franchise known for its single-player stories, and Bethesda received a lot of backlash for how it was handled. Subsequently, Todd Howard announced that Bethesda’s Starfield will be single-player only, further demonstrating to Electronic Arts and everyone else that single-player gaming is alive and well.
Allegedly the movie adaptation of the indie horror game smash hit Five Nights at Freddy's has finally entered production. With multiple delays, a complete script overhaul, and a very similar concept starring a very well-known actor having already been released, what can horror and video game fans expect when Freddy Fazbear steps out of gameplay and into theaters?
There are definite challenges to adapting a video game to screen. While a plot-heavy and character-driven game like The Last of Us has enough foundation to write a script on, more visual-based and jump-scare-laden entries, like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, flounder. Five Nights at Freddy's is a jumpscare, youtube-streamer, sensation created by Scott Cawthorn and released in 2014. The gameplay is incredibly simple with the player acting as a security guard left to watch the restaurant Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria overnight but warned that the animatronics wander the restaurant murderously. As the security guard, the player switches between different security cameras as the animatronics move about, creeping towards the security office.
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