Today, Electronic Arts announced a handful of new projectsincluding remake Empty space and a story-based contestant who incorporates Hollywood talent. It’s part of the publisher’s busy time; last year, EA said it would release 13 new games and over 400 upgrades to existing games. Productivity is particularly significant because like most companies around the world, EA studios had to work remotely because of the pandemic. Laura Miele, head of EA studios, says the publisher continues to learn how to make games best remotely. And while it’s not clear what the future of EA’s studios will look like, change is coming forward. “I think we’ll never go back the way we were before the pandemic,” Miele says Limit.
Miele oversees 25 different studios – including the latest additions Codemasters, Gluand Playdemic – and first, he says, the biggest hurdle in telecommuting was “clean production,” which means nuts and bolts for game development. It is also the place where he believes the publisher has made the most progress. “As the pandemic began, we experienced a certain level of production that we have progressed over the past year,” he says, noting that teams have developed internal tools as well as technologies, such as always-Zoom war rooms, to bypass some of the logistics.
“We have learned production mechanics and some engineering solutions. I think we’re still learning about the human factor and how people are affected on an emotional and human level, ”he adds. That’s something that came up last year. Apex legend Developer Respawn responded to complaints about its pandemic work schedule, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance while addressing the demanding nature of the live service game.
The scale of EA seems to have helped in part to address these issues. Modern games of chance are typically built by several teams and come Battlefield 2042 is no exception. While DICE is leading the development in Stockholm, the LA-based Ripple Effect is dealing with the newly announced Battlefield Portal space. Meanwhile, Criterion Games – previously the most famous studio Burnout a series that has since become an EA intrigue – came on board later during development to help. “The criterion came into the project earlier this year,” Miele says. “They know [the Frostbite game engine] Well, they have incredibly experienced production skills, so they came forward and really helped the team work at home and in logistics. “
Arguably more challenging than production problems have sparked a creative spark from artists and designers. This has been less of a challenge for games that were already in good time when the pandemic hit, but developing completely new ideas remotely has proven tricky. “You lose some creative energy and connection when you start a new project, to that initial stage,” Miele says. “We’re losing some contact there.”
It is not yet clear what the long-term effects will be for EA and its many studios. Miele says he is particularly interested in seeing how things develop in the coming months as many countries ease restrictions and offices begin to open up in a limited way – although he concludes with a brief description of any specific changes in the way telework progresses. “We’re going to learn this next step, and it really tells us how we might think about the hybrid model when we return,” he says. “I think it’s too early to make a big announcement,” we’re going to do This. ‘I want us to continue learning. “