Vague public relations messaging and backtracking seem to be all the rage these days in the gaming industry, and publishing giant Electronic Arts isn’t about to let Microsoft have all the fun. The company is still boasting about the number of new IPs it has in the pipeline for the upcoming generation, even if that number isn’t one anyone who works there is able to define.
Ask an EA employee, and they will tell you they definitely probably have around an estimated six (And that is a for sure an accurate ball park number) to maybe eight-ish kind-of-new IPs on the way…give or take. It all depends on one’s perception of “new.”
As was pointed out last month, EA is being fairly liberal with the definition of “new IP,” with half of the upcoming supposed freshness actually being reboots or reinventions of existing franchises. Established series like Mirror’s Edge and Dragon’s Age are all getting shuffled into this “new IP” count under the reboot banner, while it can be said that Star Wars: Battlefront is technically new for them as a company. But none of those games is new-new like Titanfall.
If this definition of “new” still seems a little unclear, EA Games Label executive vice president Patrick Soderlund recently gave an interview in which he spoke up about this very issue. Have a look at what he had to say:
“We are working on a new Mirror’s Edge game, and although that’s not a new IP, it is a revival done in a new way. We are developing Star Wars Battlefront, which to us is a new IP, even though it isn’t technically.”
“We have six to eight completely new IPs in the works. The day we stop making new IP is when we go onto life support. We need to incubate new ideas and push creative boundaries.”
Soderlund does use the phrase “completely new” in describing the new intellectual properties. Which variety of new (The Titanfall kind or the Mirror’s Edge kind) is still unclear. It also doesn’t help that even he can’t pinpoint a definite number.
EA has certainly had a turbulent couple of years. After “winning” back-to-back “Worst Company in America” awards, a highly publicized and highly botched SimCity launch, and seeing CEO John Riccitiello exit the company, it’s easy to understand why the company would want to get gamers excited about any new properties that are on the way. What’s difficult to understand is why they would try and do that in a way that appears, at best, incompetent from a PR standpoint, and at worst, dishonest to those who would support them.
In the midst of such a transitional point in the industry, in which new and risky IPs get produced with diminishing frequency, the message of quantity over quality simply doesn’t fly anymore. A focused attempt to launch two new IPs, instead of inflating the numbers to seem like three or four times as much, still has the potential to garner just as much excitement, especially with new consoles on the way. While it remains unclear exactly how many new titles EA has coming, one thing remains crystal clear: In a time when gamers are only looking for the best experiences to throw $60 at, honest messaging will yield much better results than boastful and inflated chest-thumping.
Are any of you excited for what Electronic Arts has planned over the next few years? Are you put off at all by the smoke-and-mirrors EA seems to be using when talking up their new properties, or is it something you’ve sadly come to expect from the company? Or does all of this not matter because any new Star Wars: Battlefront will heal all wounds?