Remember when EA executive vice president Patrick Soderlund announced that he wanted the publisher to make Assassin’s Creed-style open world games? Well, that wasn’t hot air, friend. The company’s CFO Blake Jorgensen has recently confirmed that Motive Studios, headed by Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond, are already at work on just such a project.
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Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference, Jorgensen confirmed that EA hired Raymond primarily to help the company move into open world territory.
“We’ve never really operated in the largest genre of gaming, and that’s the action genre,” says Jorgensen. “That’s the Assassin’s Creed-style games; more open-world, more single-play versus multiplayer. It’s not been an area that we’ve operated in. We recently hired Jade Raymond, who was behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise for Ubisoft and she will be building an action genre for us through a studio we’re building out in Montreal right now. So a lot of excitement around the action genre.”
Jorgensen’s statement confirms what Soderlund alluded to last month – Raymond and Motive Studios are making their own AssCreed-’em-up as we speak.
But Jorgensen’s view of the company as one who hasn’t operated in the area of action/open world gaming is interesting. Several titles with those attributes spring to mind: The Godfather 1&2, for example, were open world action games very much of the Grand Theft Auto mould. Forgotten (but quite accomplished) RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning existed in a very open world, and Peter Molyneux’s Black & White was doing sandbox when Ezio was knee-high to a grasshopper.
It isn’t just the publisher’s legacy titles that spring to mind, either – DICE have been very clear about the Mirror’s Edge reboot’s open world element.
Jorgensen’s statement means one of two things: either the company doesn’t have any open world action games that people still care about, or that Assassin’s Creed, with its particular conventions and mechanics, is in itself viewed as a genre rather than just an IP by rival publishers. After all, the apple didn’t fall too far from the branch with Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, but AssCreed’s obvious influence did nothing to dampen its critical or commercial performance.