EA Europe’s Patrick Soderlund has hit back at criticisms of the publisher lacking innovation over the last few years, suggesting that experimenting with new IP is absolutely paramount.
Interestingly, though, he then proceeds to cite two sequels as examples.
“To me, the day we stop doing new IP is the day we put ourselves on life support and then we’re slowly going to die,” Soderlund told MCV. “It’s not only needed for the industry and for the consumers but it’s also needed for the creatives."
“They need something different to think about. They have a lot of creativity built into them that they need to get out. The day that we stop thinking about new things that are not Need for Speed is the day that I’ll probably leave the games industry.”
To illustrate his point, Soderlund points at Battlefield 3 and Need For Speed: Most Wanted as examples of how innovation can be implemented within established brands.
“A lot of people criticise EA for not being innovative”, he elaborated. “But look at what EA has done with Battlefield 3. We said, here’s a game that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before. We looked at animation, we looked at audio, we looked at every single part of the visual experience and we said: how can we change this? I think if that’s not innovation, I don’t know what innovation is.
“Then you look at Most Wanted this year and Need for Speed really looks cool and different. Those things don’t just happen by mistake, those are all diligent strategies with someone saying: ‘probably not good enough’.”
Some would argue that Need For Speed: Most Wanted has a lot in common with Criterion's Burnout Paradise and that Battlefield 3 is an iteration of previous games in the series, but there's no arguing with the technical leaps forward and their expanded ambition. EA are currently working on five new projects for next-gen systems, so it will be interesting to see what they plan to bring to the table at the start of the new console cycle.
As always, we'd love to get your take on this (perhaps once you've finished rolling your eyes...?).