Frank Gibeau, chief of EA Games, said that the company has been aggressively rebranding itself the last few years.
When EA was founded by Trip Hawkins in 1982, it soon grew into a respected company exploring the burgeoning videogame medium. Over the last few decades, Electronic Arts grew into a publishing giant that owns developers that make games instead of making games itself. It seemed that EA of the Oughts was more interested in flooding the market with shovelware than really good games. The reputation it enjoyed in the 80s had vanished, and pundits within and without the industry continue to ask EA to respect its fans and its videogames again. Frank Gibeau thinks that EA’s attempts to positively rebrand itself have been successful by the way it holds up the culture of each developer within its umbrella. Oh, and they are working on a sequel to Mirror’s Edge, for what it’s worth.
“We’ve been in existence for 28 years, been on top, been challenged and are coming back, we’re on the offense,” Gibeau said. “Regaining your reputation starts at a creator level, customers and fans.”
Gibeau said that the problem was that each studio EA owned started to feel homogenized. “One of the things I learned at EA when we were great and at the top of our game was each of the studios that were creating games had their own unique culture,” he said. “So we purposefully blew the place up and the concept that we created was ‘city states’, which mean you had creative independence and autonomy to build a product.”
He went on: “DICE is very different than BioWare, which is different from Visceral, which is different to Danger Close. Giving them the opportunity to create their identities, invest in their cultures and come into work – if you like coming into work you like building what you’re building – fundamentally that was the key dynamic.
“A stupidly simple idea,” Gibeau admitted in retrospect.
Well, what about the rumor that he killed a sequel to the fan favorite Mirror’s Edge. “We’re just trying to figure out how to bring Mirror’s Edge back and in what way, that’s part of the creative development process. I know there were some stories about how EA killed Mirror’s Edge. I’m the guy that greenlights the games, I didn’t kill it,” Gibeau said.
“We’re actively working on ideas in the Mirror’s Edge universe; we just haven’t locked on a way to bring it back so that fans will be excited and at the same time we get to a bigger audience. That’s god’s honest truth,” he swore.
Given the other stuff Gibeau was saying, I’m not sure if I buy it. What do you guys think?