Electronic Arts will support independent developers through a new partnership.
The company has started a program called EA Originals, which will team the publisher with independent studios to help develop and release creative games, Electronic Arts announced during its “EA Play” conference in Los Angeles, California on Sunday.
EA will help fund, market and publish independent games in the EA Originals program. The company said it will look for and partner with a few independent studios each year to support these projects. The partnership is focused on helping small teams be financially secure during the development process. Under EA Originals all the game’s profits will go back to the developers so these studios can continue to make new titles, the company announced.
EA said it was inspired to create the Originals partnership after publishing Unravel, an indie game by the Swedish studio ColdWood Interactive that released this February. With games like Unravel, the company realized there were more unique games from indie developers that could bring different experiences to players. Patrick Soderlund, the executive vice president of EA Studios, revealed the program and highlighted why it was important for the company to start this initiative.
“Making games is hard. It’s a hard business, and these small developers have risked themselves to develop a new IP, and great games to deserve to be played,” he said.
The first EA Originals game is Fe from Zoink Games, an indie team of around 20 people based in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“At its heart, Fe is a personal narrative about our relationship with nature,” Klaus Lyngeled, the creative director at Zoink Games, said during the conference.
Fe is is set in a mysterious forest with various creatures, with a young animal that wakes up with no memory of who they are and goes in search of their identity. There will be no dialogue in the game but the forest is connected through its own musical language. All the animals and plants in the world have their own songs. Learning these songs will let the player discover new areas of the forest. There are enemies that spread silence through the forest that the player must avoid using stealth and other tactics. The intentions of these evil creatures will be revealed through the story.
“As your explore the world of Fe, we’re not going to hold your hand,” Lyngeled said. “The game won’t tell you where to go, what to do or how to think. We will set the stage and invite you into the forest for your own personal experience. In the forest, your discoveries will be your own.”
No release date or platforms were announced for Fe.
Zoink has also developed 2013’s Stick It To The Man! and Zombie Vikings that released last fall.
In the past Electronic Arts also teamed with larger third-party studios under the EA Partners program to help develop and publish games like Rock Band (2007), Brutal Legend (2009), Portal 2 (2011), Bulletstorm (2011), Shadows of the Damned (2011), Syndicate (2012) and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (2012). The last two games published under the partnership were Fuse (2013) from Insomniac Games and Titanfall by Respawn Entertainment in 2014. EA Partners ended in 2013 after company-wide financial losses, layoffs and restructuring within the organization.
Watch Fe’s reveal trailer: