Posts Tagged ‘Electronic Arts’

Soren Johnson On Maxis: “One Of The Great PC Devs”

By Graham Smith on March 5th, 2015.

Until their functional closure yesterday, Maxis were “one of the great PC developers”. From the seminal SimCity and adventurous SimAnt, to the breakthrough The Sims and absurdly ambitious Spore, the studio made two decades of strange, thoughtful, risky games.

One of the people who helped was Soren Johnson, who joined the studio in 2007 to work on finishing Spore. I was talking to Johnson about his new game Offworld Trading Company [official site] just a few hours after news of the closure broke and took the opportunity to ask him about his former employer, the studio’s closure, and the difficulties of working with big studios that have “a laundry list of requirements” for a game.

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It’s A Sim: EA Closes Sims/SimCity Developer Maxis

By Alec Meer on March 4th, 2015.

In memoriam

Oh man, this is a sad day. Former staff today reported – later confirmed by EA – that the heart of Maxis, the studio behind The Sims & Sim City, is to be ripped out. While satellite studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne remain, the Emeryville headquarters was Maxis as we knew it. It’s had a chequered recent history, particularly with regard to the most recent SimCity, but without a doubt this was a legendary developer.

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EA Offers Up Battlefield Hardline Premium Details

By Philippa Warr on March 3rd, 2015.

I don't think Roy Walker hosts Catchphrase anymore

Is a trailer really a trailer when it’s actually just different bits of a still image of a man with some particle effects? I’d say that was closer to those bonus Catchphrase rounds where they gradually reveal the image for contestants to guess until one of them says “Uh, is is Battlefield Hardline Premium?” and Roy Walker shouts “RIIIIIIGHT!” even though it’s not a catchphrase.

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BioWare Austin’s Shadow Realms Cancelled

By Alice O'Connor on February 10th, 2015.

What happens if I touch this? WAIT NO WAIT NO!

Electronic Arts only announced asymmetric multiplayer action-RPG Shadow Realms [official site] in August, but have now confirmed that they’ve cancelled it. Being made by BioWare Austin (the studio behind the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG, not the Mass Effect gang), it was to be a modern fantasy game with nasty monsters rattling around our world. One player would control a ‘Shadowlord’ on the side of the monsters, while four human players would murder the nasties, and they’d all level up and get loot and all that. But no, not any more.

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Get To Work! First The Sims 4 Expansion Announced

By Alice O'Connor on February 5th, 2015.

Wuh-oh! Looks like someone filled you with guts! My machine can fix that.

The Sims 4 [official site] was always going to feel a bit empty at launch in comparison to earlier games as they had oodles of expansions by then, and it didn’t help that a few long-standing features were absent. Since then they’ve added back in things like pools and ghosts, released a ‘Game Pack’ mini-expansion, and now EA have announced the first proper expansion, Get to Work. It adds stuff to do with employment, obvs.

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Plans And Elevations: The Sims 4 Concept Art

By Philippa Warr on February 4th, 2015.

Don't you love it when...

EA have plopped a bunch of Build Mode concept art from The Sims 4 [official site] on their blog as part of an interview with designer Aaron Houts.

The interview itself has hints of excitement – there’s a misbehaving wall tool and automated door placement which sounds like it left you with a door-infested house with portals lurking in odd places. Alas, EA does not fancy sharing these monstrous houses and the interview itself is rather flat. BUT we have studies and swatches to look at which make me happy in a peaceful, diagrammatic way I remember from when I used to look at architectural floor plans as a child.

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Hands On: Battlefield Hardline

By Brendan Caldwell on February 2nd, 2015.

After a mixed reaction to the beta, including from our own Graham, Battlefield Hardline [official site] is looking to prove that it isn’t simply a reskin of Battlefield 4 with policemen instead of soldiermen. In many ways, it looks like it is going to have trouble shaking that assumption. But in one particular way (a single game mode called Hotwire), it is going to come out fighting. I visited EA to take a look.

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Battlefield Hardline Multiplayer Open Beta Next Week

By Alice O'Connor on January 29th, 2015.

This seems outside police procedure.

Several years ago, I had a meeting with EA and pitched Battlefield: The Thin Blue Line, an FPS adaptation of the ’90s Rowan Atkinson sitcom. [Did you now? -ed.] Players would engage in gossip, give young shoplifters stern talking-tos, and even bop a yob with their truncheon. The final mission would be to sneak a big frilly bra into DI Grim’s office during a surprise inspection from the Superintendent. Unfortunately, EA instead picked up Battlefield Hardline [official site], a quick-drawing, dirty-talking, civil rights-ignoring celebration of police militarisation. Shame. I bet it doesn’t have even one single cascade of misunderstandings with hilarious consequences.

The point is, EA are launching a short multiplayer open beta test for Hardline next week.

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Sim City 2000 Is 20 Years Old And Free

By John Walker on December 10th, 2014.

Last year’s SimCity was, in the end, pretty average. Its launch and the outright bullshit that EA span around it was a disaster, but the game was simply a quite disappointing entry in a formerly brilliant series. And I’d argue it was never any more brilliant than in Sim City 2000. Which makes it splendid news that just now, Sim City 2000 is free!

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Brothers Creator Now Riding The Rails At Hazelight

By Alice O'Connor on December 9th, 2014.

Please be a train-riding simulator.

Single-player co-op tearjerker Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was an unexpectedly touching game from Starbreeze, the Swedish lot best known for fine games about shooting men in the face. Might it be the first of many sappy games from Starbreeze? Well, probably not.

Brothers creator Josef Fares has formed a new studio, Hazelight, with several members of the Brothers team. Their first game is a bit of a mystery for now, but a teaser trailer shows two chaps riding in a rail car and if this is a train hopping game simply about watching scenery going by I will scream with delight until I spit blood with delight. It probably won’t be, but I can dream.

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Campaign For A Better Memory Of Crysis 1

By Graham Smith on November 29th, 2014.

There’s an open stretch of grass between me and the thin exterior wall of a small island village. The place is crawling with enemy troops, who move along the dirt roads and populate the ramshackle buildings in groups of two or three. Defensive turrets would already be firing at me if I my nanosuit wasn’t keeping me invisible, the energy bar barely moving for as long as I remain still.

So I start to run.

You want Advanced Warfare? Crysis did that seven years ago.

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Not Fade Away: How Dragon Age Origins Got Evil Right

By Matt Lees on November 17th, 2014.

The difficulty with explaining why Dragon Age: Origins was super-duper top dog stuff is that on a surface level it was all a bit boring. Nasty creatures are coming to destroy your green, faintly damp-looking world! You’ve got to save the realm, perhaps because prophecies? Prophecies might be a thing, I suppose. Also: dwarves and elves and sometimes magic.

Thematically there’s very little going on in Ferelden that hadn’t already been flogged to oblivion by the rest of the genre, which makes Origins an even tougher sell to a culture now fixated with Game of Thrones. Decapitation makes an occasional appearance, but Origins is largely po-faced fare. What helps it succeed anyway is the one cliché it skewers beautifully, through its depiction of evil and a place called ‘the fade’.

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Wot I Think: Dragon Age – Inquisition

By Adam Smith on November 17th, 2014.

Dragon Age: Inquisition might just be my favourite game released this year. Considering my expectations and relationship with recent BioWare games, that’s about as likely as Saturday night’s soggy kebab being my favourite meal of the year. I’ve spent almost sixty hours uncovering as much of Inquisition’s enormous open world and intricate story as possible, and as soon as I have a few days free, I’ll be spending another sixty or eighty hours seeing it all through new eyes.

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