Electronic Arts' EA Partners program made headlines last week for striking publishing deals with indie developers Hothead Games and Klei Entertainment. Today, the company made a larger announcement--a Big Huge one, in fact. Ex-baseballer Curt Schilling's developer 38 Studios has struck a deal with EA to publish an upcoming single-player role-playing game. The deal does not extend to 38 Studios' massively multiplayer project, code-named Copernicus.
EA just added another arrow to its RPG quiver.
Code-named "Project Mercury," the single-player RPG is being developed by Rise of Nations studio Big Huge Games for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. (After then-owner THQ threatened to close the studio in 2009, 38 Studios stepped in and bought the Maryland-based developer.) It will be an all-new intellectual property cocreated fantasy by comic-book artist Todd McFarlane (Spawn) and author R.A. Salvatore (The DemonWars Saga). Both men helped Schilling found 38 Studios--then called Green Monster Games--in 2006, and respectively serve as art director and "executive creator of worlds" at the Maynard, Massachusetts studio. The game will not be based on any of Salvatore's or MacFarlane's previous work.
Though 38 Studios is a relatively new operation, Project Mercury has some seasoned development talent behind it. Its project lead is Ken Rolston, who was lead designer on Bethesda Softworks' acclaimed high-fantasy RPGs The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Several other Bethesda alumni are working on the project, as well as a senior designer from Lucasarts' the Force Unleashed. Veterans of Civilization and Civilization II are also on board.
For more on this story, read 38 Studios, EA in Big Huge RPG deal on GameSpot.