Electronic Arts has taken the wraps off 8lb Gorilla, a new "micro-studio" dedicated to the creation of small 99 cent games for the iPhone.
EA has had success with iPhone versions of major releases like The Sims 3 and Need for Speed Undercover, but until now it hasn't made any attempt to break into the cheapie game segment that does so well on the iPhone platform. That's where 8lb Gorilla comes in: The studio is described by Touch Arcade as "a team of twenty-something-year old developers set loose by EA executives, in their words, 'on an island' to develop indie-style simple pick up and play iPhone games."
8lb Gorilla's first effort is Zombies & Me, set during the early stages of a zombie holocaust when the undead are rising and the military is struggling to put them back into the ground, once and for all. Players will enter the fray as Guy, who must protect his grandmother from the zombies by running around outside her house, rounding them up and positioning them under the missiles the army is dropping on the scene.
The game is apparently as simple as it sounds; 8lb Gorilla said play testers were generally able to figure out the game's controls in five to ten seconds and it is reportedly "on par with what you would expect for a 99 cent game." Zombies & Me is due to hit the App Store soon and the studio plans on releasing future games on a "near-monthly basis."
Most interesting in all this is the very quiet approach EA seems to be taking to the iPhone platform, despite its huge potential and EA's natural penchant for bluster. 8lb Gorilla has received virtually zero fanfare and, as far as I've been able to determine through an admittedly-cursory look, has no visible presence on EA's website. The publisher is obviously looking to make a big splash in the iPhone market, but at the same time also appears to be trying to camouflage the effort. Maybe EA recognizes that despite its recent reformation, it's still the Great Satan in the eyes of many people, particularly those with a taste for small, simple - and independent - games.