The next EA Original has been announced, and it’s coming from Koei Tecmo and Omega Force, developers of the Dynasty Warriors series. Set in Japan during its feudal period but with a fantasy twist, EA and Koei Tecmo describe the as-yet-untitled project as “the next great hunting game”. Dispel those mental images of theHunter: Call Of The Wild and Big Buck Hunter though, because it sounds like this is more in the vein of hack-and-slash monster hunting shenanigans.
It seems EA and Koei Tecmo's partnership is helping to bring the game outside of Japan. “Adding the global resources of EA with our own will help us introduce a new kind of hunting game to a global audience of players and expand our reach into global markets,” Koei Tecmo’s Executive Vice President, Yosuke Hayashi, said. A spokesperson for EA said that the new game showed Toukiden 2 developer Omega Force’s “proven talent for combat gameplay”. Wasn’t EA Originals supposed to be about indies, EA? You can read the full announcement here.
The EA Originals label was set up in 2016 to foster original games from small studios. At the time, we reported on the first game officially given the EA Original label, Zoink Games’ Fe, although Unravel had kind of got the yarn ball rolling the year before. Since then, EA Originals have included Hazelight Studios’ co-op action adventures A Way Out and It Takes Two. The label’s also produced sailing adventure Sea Of Solitude from Jo-Mei Games, Final Strike Games’ third-person shooter Rocket Arena, Zoink’s dice-based action adventure Lost In Random, and Unravel 2.
All that goes to say that you wouldn't expect a division of another publisher such as Koei Tecmo to fall under the remit of EA Originals, by now a fairly well established indie-focused label. Omega Force have been around since 1996, and are known for developing the Dynasty Warriors series. They’ve been responsible for the successful musou interpretations of big-name Nintendo IP, such as the Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors games, along with name franchises such as Attack On Titan and Dragon Quest. Omega Force aren’t a tiny, obscure team. They’re part of a large Japanese publisher.
EA and Koei Tecmo say they’ll have more to show of the new game later this month. I’ve contacted EA to ask whether they’d consider Omega Force to be among the smaller developers that the EA Originals label was set up to encourage. I’ll let you know what their response is.