GAMESCOM INTERVIEW: Head of EA Games label Patrick Soderlund

James Cullinane
GAMESCOM INTERVIEW: Head of EA Games label Patrick Soderlund

At Gamescom recently, MCV got the chance to speak with the head of the EA Games label, Patrick Soderlund about AAA, new IP and more.

Recently, many of EA’s announcements have been leaked, most recently it was Battlefield 4, and earlier this year the same happened with Crysis 3. Is that something that concerns you?

When you make big entertainment properties, and we want to make sure that they’re announced on our terms, and most of them have been. I think in any big corporation things leak out. You see that with Apple, for example. I don’t think we’re subjected to more than anyone else. We’re following our strategy, and 99 percent of the time it’s what we want, but sometimes, unfortunately, things slip out that maybe shouldn’t have at that time.

But I don’t think it’s necessarily EA-specific. I think it’s industry-wide, worldwide; it’s just inevitable when you’re a big company.

There’s no new intellectual property being revealed here at Gamescom. Is that a reflection of where we are in the console cycle?

The first thing is, one way of looking at new IP is that it’s cool to have a new game in the market, but when I look at the line-up – at least from my part, the Games stable – if you look at each of the products that we have, Dead Space 3 for example, and drop-in, drop-out co-op where the story changes – that’s pretty cool. If you look at what you have behind me, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, it’s probably the most innovative Need For Speed game in, what, fifteen years? Look at the approach they’re taking and the conventions they’re breaking as they make this game. So that could almost be a new IP if you look at it in that respect.

So to me, it’s “what innovation do we bring to the brands, and what innovation to we deliver to consumers, and what quality can we offer them?” If you look at it from that perspective, I’m extremely proud of the line-up I have this year, and we’re very well positioned.

When it comes to new IP, I’m of the firm belief that as an organisation of game creators, the minute we stop renewing ourselves, stop innovating, stop pushing for something different, we’re going to go on life support, we’re dead.

Is EA and is my group working on new things? Absolutely. Was this the right time this year to launch something new? No. Will there be a time in the future? Absolutely. It’s that simple.

The AAA games business appears to be increasingly risky. Is that something that worries you?

I’ve been in this industry since 1996, and I’ve had that question every single year since I joined – that’s always been the case. That’s entertainment for you, whether it’s film, whether it’s music, or games, that’s just the playing field. I happen to be at a company that are really good at it. Do I see it as a problem? Not necessarily. That’s just what it takes to do business. Again, EA is a company that has the knowledge, the understanding and the capabilities and talent to be continuously competitive, and market-leading to a large extent.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview, going live soon.

 

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Tags: ea , interview , gamescom , dead space 3 , Need for Speed: Most Wanted , Patrick Soderlund

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