Tag Archives: Electronic Arts

EA has Acquired Respawn Entertainment



Electronic Arts (EA) announced an agreement to acquire Respawn Entertainment, a leading independent game development studio and creators of AAA shooter and action games including critically-acclaimed Titanfall franchise.

EA states that Respawn brings to EA the proven leadership and studio talent behind Titanfall and Titanfall 2, two of the most highly-rated shooter titles in the last five years. The acquisition builds on a successful publishing partnership between Respawn and EA, with multiple projects currently in development – a new title in the Titanfall franchise, a game set in the Star Wars universe, and a VR gaming experience.

Respawn will join EA’s Worldwide Studios organization, a global creative collective of leading game development studios.

CEO of Respawn Entertainment, Vince Zampella, posted a letter on the Respawn website that provides some information about the acquisition.

While it wasn’t necessary, going with EA made a lot of sense. With Titanfall and Star Wars, EA has been a great development partner that supports us and doesn’t interfere with our process for making games or studio culture. EA will provide more resources, access to new technologies, and expertise that we can tap into to that will help us make better games, and Respawn will retain the same creative freedom and culture we’ve always had. We’ve been talking closely with the leadership with EA and we share their values and vision for the future of being a developer-focused company that puts the players first.

He goes on to say that he will still be running things at Respawn, and that he will also be part of the studio leadership team at EA. He states that there will be no layoffs or major organization changes with Respawn, and that all games currently in development are continuing as planned.


EA Announces Visceral Studio will Close



In a blog post titled “An Update on the Visceral Star Wars Project”, EA announced that their Visceral studio will close. This change, obviously, has an impact on the Star Wars game that the studio was working on.

Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to feedback about what and how they wanted to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.

EA clarifies that they will maintain the visuals and authenticity of the Star Wars universe, and will focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life. The game, whatever it was, will be shifted to “a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency.”

As a result, EA states that their Visceral studio will be “ramping down and closing”. EA is already in the process of shifting as many of the Visceral studio team as possible to other projects and teams at EA. A team from EA Vancouver has already been working on the project, and they will lead a development team from EA Worldwide Studios (who will take over development of the Star Wars game).


Play Some of EA’s Games for Free – for a Limited Time



Electronic Arts (EA) is offering video game players the ability to play some of EA’s games, for free, between now and June 18, 2017. They are doing this in response to the support for Play to Give, which focuses on the importance of inclusion (and raises money for charities). EA explains it this way:

All of you – our many millions of players out there – showed your support. You came out to play, as more than 5.7 million active players participated in the Play to Give in-game challenges from June 2-4. We were moved by your tremendous show of support.

As a thank you, we’re ensuring all of you can play some of our best EA games – for free* – today through June 18 as we celebrate play.

There are some limitations to be aware of. The asterisk in the above quote points towards EA Access, which is a subscription program that costs $4.99/month or $29.99/year. If you already have a subscription, you are eligible for the free-to-play offer.

This means for a limited time, free access to EA Vault titles on Xbox One for Xbox Live Gold members*, free access to Origin Access on PC**, and, on PlayStation 4, free game trials of Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17, TitanFall 2, EA SPORTS UFC 2, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 are available June 10-June 18.*** In addition, PlayStation 4 players who already own Star Wars Battlefront can also play all premium maps and heroes through June 18.

Here are the limitations:

Xbox One players who are Xbox Live Gold members can play EA Access Vault titles for free.

PC players who have Origin Access accounts can play EA Access Vault titles for free. Origin Access comes with a free 7-day trial period. EA says “Credit card will be charged if subscription is not cancelled before promotion is over.”

PlayStation 4 players who have an EA account can play free game trials of the games listed above. They need to have a PlayStation Plus account to access multiplayer features Plants v Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (limited to 10 hours of play time), Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17 (Journey mode limited to 2 hours), Titanfall 2 (limited to Gauntlet and the Beacon single-player content plus multiplayer features) and EA Sports UFC 2 (limited to 5 hours).


Layoffs and Reorganizing at Electronic Arts



EA Logo Just when you think you’ve heard the last bit of bad news from Electronic Arts (EA), more is revealed. On March 18, 2013, CEO John Riccitello resigned from the company. His position was temporarily taken over by Chairman Larry Probst, who was a previous EA chief executive.

Riccitello’s resignation was probably not a huge surprise to many. EA has had a history of difficulties with their games. In June of 2012, Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR) went “free to play”. Shortly after that, EA stopped reporting the number of subscribers the game had (which is never a good sign). Earlier this year, EA gained a lot of negative attention after the fiasco that followed the launch of SimCity. Many gamers were frustrated by the problems with the game, and felt that EA took too long before it acknowledged the problems or tried to fix them.

This month, EA announced that it will be retiring three of the games that are currently available through Facebook. Those games are: The Sims Social, SimCity Social, and Pet Society. They will be gone, forever, as of June 14, 2013. EA has been suggesting that players try out some of the Facebook games made by PopCap (which EA owns) instead.

Today, Kotaku reports that EA has done some layoffs, and is streamlining some of its divisions. Kotaku has published a memo from Larry Probst that was sent to workers while the layoffs were occurring. Here’s a piece of that memo that was released on the EA blog

In recent weeks, the executive team has been tasked with evaluating every area of our business to establish a clear set of priorities, and a more efficient organizational structure. This process has led to some difficult decisions about the number of people and locations needed to achieve our goals.

The workforce reductions which we communicated in the last two weeks represent the majority of our planned personnel actions. We are extremely grateful for the contributions made by each of these individuals – they will be missed by their colleagues and friends at EA.

Other portions of the memo note that Andrew Wilson will take on leadership at Origin (which EA owns). The Vancouver Sun reports that PopCap Vancouver and Quicklime Games studios are shutting down as part of the restructuring at EA. This resulted in some layoffs. Some PopCap Vancouver employees will be placed in jobs at other PopCap or EA studios.